ISP Pricing Models Due for a Change

AMSTERDAM (03/15/2000) - With all the changes the ISP (Internet service provider) market is going through, one question sometimes seems to get lost in the conversion. What should ISPs charge for, and how do they charge it?

Traditional ISP billing models, including time-based, flat fee and usage-based models, will soon see their end, according to Stephan Forseilles, operations director of Belgacom AG's ISP, Skynet.

"Internet service will all be free soon, so we have to start looking for money elsewhere," Forseilles said in a speech here today.

In the future, ISPs will be forced to survive on charging for value added services, such as secure e-commerce transactions. "The most probable way of billing for e-commerce will be by the ISP charging a commission on each sale," he said.

The most important thing in the new market will be an integrated customer care and billing system. All ISPs offer basically the same service, so the ease of billing can actually make a difference between someone choosing one ISP over another, Forseilles said.

ISPs should have a system that allows them to directly bill customers for value added services, is extremely scalable and has a low cost of implementation. "It should be extremely automated, because people are expensive," Forseilles said.

"All this must be done very fast, because the market is moving," he added.

ISP2000 continues through Thursday in Amsterdam; more information can be found at http://www.isp2000europe.com/. Belgacom can be reached at http://www.belgacom.be/.

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