ISPs are starting to use pricing as a congestion management tool, as seen from the elimination of flat-rate data plans in favor of usage-based pricing. This article outlines the sources of today's congestion and pricing challenges and then discusses regulatory and technological trends that influence this issue. Proposals for incentivizing time-shifting of data by customers are also described. A prototype system incentivizing time-shifting of delay-tolerant data is highlighted, with a feedback loop from network measurement and price update to the end user graphic interface and responses, and with a revisit to the architectural division between functionalities in management servers and those in end-user devices. This article would be of considerable interest to readers who wish to go beyond technology-based issues to the underlying business aspects of telecommunications and mobile networks.
Incentivizing Time-Shifting of Data: A Survey of Time-Dependent Pricing for Internet Access
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