user pays and bans on CUSM in Australia

Geoff Rehn (EST)
Wed, 30 Nov 1994 10:30:50 -0500


Over here in Australia, institutions such as universities and some research
establishments are connected to the Internet via AARNet, the Australian
Academic Research Network. Each university has contributed to the cost of
maintaining AARNet essentially on the basis of student population - not
that students as a rule have ready access to all or even any network

As from January 1995, it will be a case of user pays, at least for overseas
traffic, based on volume: 55cents Australian per megabyte. Now running CUSM
at say at a CAP of say just 50kbps, this runs into roughly $100 per hour
(and that's video only).

For a variety of reasons, some institutions over here are proceeding to ban
ALL use of CUSM, even intra-campus. Now, many of us have thin pipes
connecting us to the Net: for example, my institution has currently only a
128kbps connection which will be upgraded shortly. Thus, concern on
excessive (and possibly irresponsible) usage is justified.

I would hazard though that such outright bans might be over-reacting a little.

However, what concerns me is that there is some talk that such pressure is
coming from beyond the institutions themselves and might be being brought
to bear by providers of established proprietary videoconferencing systems
or infrastructures, to whom CUSM is posing somewhat of a threat.

Would anyone care to comment?

Geoff R.

Geoff Rehn
Academic Services Unit
Murdoch University    Western Australia