[e2e] end of interest

David P. Reed dpreed at reed.com
Mon Apr 21 13:29:15 PDT 2008

James Kempf wrote:
> David,
> When I say "for free", what I meant was that when I get my bill, what 
> does it say I'm paying for?
Mine says 1 month of "Internet service" - whatever that is. :-)

But seriously, I agree that we often don't talk about the bill as 
including "options to connect" in pairs, groups, etc. that the 
*switching* aspect of Internet service affords us. In finance, option 
value inherent in purchasing a commodity contract is understood, so we 
ought to presume that option value related to switching is understood as 
bundled with the purchase of commodity Internet service.

Obviously I think that switching and routing is valuable or I wouldn't 
have written about the economics of group-forming networks, and I 
wouldn't have agreed with Metcalfe that the N^2 law measures a form of 
utility that is separate from mere fixed-line bitrate.

However, I think when we customers buy Internet service (or for that 
matter, cable TV service) we understand at least implicitly we are not 
paying for a flood of bits alone.   The value of flexibility to choose 
what bits we want to send and receive, and where we want to send and 
receive them at any instant of time is something a service subscriber 

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