cr> Polish Monopoly Institutes “Per Byte” Charging


Craig A. Johnson

It is useful to remember that our Net friends in all parts of the 
world are fighting some of the same battles that we are.  Let's stay 
aware of these developments.

Below is a copy of a letter sent by the Polish Internet Society to 
the government regarding the new rates to be charged by the 
monopolistic provider, NASK.



Introduction  -- from the Sun Web site -- 

NASK, a Polish monopolistic countrywide Internet provider recently
announced its plans to change the charging scheme for its services
effective Jan 1st, 1996. According to the new pricelist, NASK is
going to charge on a 'per byte' (sent or received) basis at over 1 US
dollar per 2 megabytes instead of current 'per bandwidth' charges.
This idea, together with almost 10-fold increase in prices is
perceived by the Polish Internet community as being suicidal for
Internet in Poland. Many of Poland's major Internet server
administrators immediately announced that they will not be able to
provide their services upon the introduction of new charges. 

Poland Internet society protests rate hike

Plans by Poland's main service provider to charge based
on Internet traffic -- both from and to users -- provokes
an Open Letter from the Internet Society of Poland. 

The following press release was issued by PSI, the Internet Society
of Poland, regarding a new rate proposal by NASK, the principal
Internet service provider in Poland. SunWorld Online is mirrored at a
Polish research institute
(, which would be affected
by this rate change. -- Editors 


As of January 1 1996, NASK has announced a plan to incorporate new
rates for its services on the Internet. The new rates reflect payment
for information sent to and from a NASK (Naukowa i Akademicka Siec
Komputerowa) subscriber. The opinion of the Internet Society of
Poland (Polska Spolecznosc Internetu) is that bringing these
suggested traffic rates by NASK within the network will have an
unfavorable effect on the development of the Internet in Poland
(which is not yet as extensive as in other European countries) That
is why we strongly oppose NASK's taking advantage of their
monopolistic position in enforcing the new rates in the proposed
format. We equally question their basis of the charges for the
network traffic, as well as the amount of the proposed fees. 

PSI feels that payment for the amount of information sent to and from
the subscriber works to his disadvantage. First of all, incoming
traffic is beyond the subscriber's control. Every Internet user can
generate as much information as he wishes and send it via electronic
mail to every subscriber without their knowledge or consent. Payment
for unwanted mail, in extreme circumstances, may ruin a subscriber
financially. Secondly, outgoing traffic is only partially controlled
by the subscriber. As much as he may control self generated traffic
(such as outgoing E-mail) he has no influence on the information
sent by other subscribers.  In modern information systems (WWW) with
fees for outgoing traffic we would have to deal with a major
drawback; the better the service the subscriber has to offer, the
greater costs he must carry. The proposed charges by NASK, for
incoming and outgoing traffic, links the faults of both charging
methods and that is why it cannot be accepted. Thirdly, with the new
rate system the subscriber has no assurance that he has been
accurately charged and has no method of recourse. Accessible counting
devices - if they can be implemented at all - additionally increases
the working cost of network. The only price structure we can accept,
is one that currently is in Poland, as is in the majority of
countries in the world, fees for bandwidth. The subscriber then has
the absolute freedom to choose the line, in order to satisfy his
needs within his financial boundaries. 

PSI feels that the proposed rates by NASK for access to the Internet
are inflated and the increase is excessively high. In order to prove
the latter we can use an example. Today a NASK subscriber with 128k
bandwidth and using on the average only half, pays 13,577 zlotys
quarterly. This sum is independent from amount of traffic, which
enables usage at critical moments with full possible speed of data
transmission, which is essential for interactive services, such as
telnet or WWW. According to the proposed rates, the subscriber
quarterly would pay 10,170 zl. and could for this sum transfer
2,130MB in international traffic and 8,520MB in domestic traffic.

This amount of information represents not even 2% of international
use or 7% for domestic use. If the subscriber wanted to maintain
traffic at his current level, he would have to pay 190,000zl for
121,500MB (international) and in excess of 10,000zl for domestic
traffic. A rate hike for international traffic in this case would add
up to 1,600%. For bandwidth, which is crucial for multimedia
applications the rates are increased FORTY times. The Internet is a
global network and the inflated NASK prices will cut Poland off from
the Web. The point is that if we are cut off from the Net, then not
only can we get any information, but we won't be able to tell the
world what is going on in Poland. In regards to the proposed rate
increase, we feel NASK should specifically justify its action and put
it up for public opinion on the Net. Also their grounds for charging
customers more for their services is questionable because currently
their services leave much to be desired. 

An analysis of fees charged by European network providers reveals
that NASK intends to lower its rates for commercial services with the
help of government subsidies ( funds that are appropriated for
development of the academic network). 

PSI believes that to this date, there has been no greater threat to
the development of the Polish Network than the exorbitant increase
proposed by NASK. The development of the Internet is one of the
country's most vital challenges they face today. We cannot let it be
thwarted by hungry individuals holding exclusive rights to a market
funded by the government with their taxpayers' money. If the proposed
rates are implemented by NASK, then PSI will be forced to approach
the Parliament and Anti-Monopoly Office and enlighten them as to the
destructive position NASK has taken, where its primary function was
to guarantee the development of the Internet in Poland. 

Marek Car 

The Internet Society of Poland was founded in July of 1995 for the
purpose of monitoring the development of the Internet in Poland and
preparing the general population for the inevitable integration in a
Global Information Society. Today PSI has more than 270 members
domestically and worldwide. 


Visit The Cyber-Rights Library,  accessible via FTP or WWW at:

You are encouraged to forward and cross-post list traffic,
pursuant to any contained copyright & redistribution restrictions.