Compaq and Netcentric an Internet software provider have announced a jointly developed metering specification that will enable ISPs to introduce bandwidth based pricing structures.
Included in the specification is a new protocol, that will enable Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to effectively meter usage and charge accordingly for value added Internet services like Internet telephony and fax.
The protocol, Metered Services Information Exchange (MSIX) provides a common interface for Internet applications to exchange usage information with network billing and management systems.
According to officials from the two companies Netcentric will make a commercial implementation of the protocol available to third party software developers by the middle of the year.
?Today?s Internet is still essentially serving as a little more than a switching network,? said Sean O?Sullivan, founder and chief executive officer of Netcentric Corporation. ?The MSIX initiative will b ring it closer to fulfilling its destiny of enabling new forms of multimedia communications and new network-centric services for communities and users throughout the world.
According to Donal Madden enterprise product manager at Compaq it is likely to be two years till the standard goes mainstream. ?Like all standards this will depend on market uptake. But you have got to look at where the Internet is going. The Internet will soon be capable of sending voice video and fax cheaper than a phone line. ISPs will need to know which customers have clocked in to using which services,? he said.
Compaq and Netcentric plan to utilise MSIX as the mechanism for supporting metered service information exchange in their products and services beginning in the autumn of 1997. Other vendors who have signed to use the new protocol include: Acorn Communications, Allaire Corporation, Alpha Software Corporation, White Pine Software and VXtreme.
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