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Paul Kater sent me some emails with useful information about metered internet access in the Netherlands (around 14 Sep 2001).

This page started out by copying those emails, paraphrasing and then summarizing them. I have "INCLUD"ed the summary on the Metered Internet Access page.



(Sept, 2001) I am assuming that the figures for the Netherlands provide a reasonable indicator for much of Europe as well (until someone provides information to the contrary).

All telephone calls are paid for by the hour. A person using one hour of Internet / email access per day during off hours (after 7:00 PM) would pay an amount approximately comparable to a US resident paying $80/month over and above his normal telephone bill.

See MeteredInternetAccessEuropeNetherlands#Developing_the_Comparison.

Developing the Comparison

Unit Costs:
  • Normal telephone line (or service): Unknown
  • ISDN line US$30 / month
  • Daytime phone calls are about NLG 3.60 per hour (US$1.50). When they are made after 7:00 PM to take advantage of a 50% 'off hours' discount and a 10% 'discount number' discount, they cost US$.60 to $1.00 per hour.
  • ISP US$15 / month

Exchange rate:

  • Exchange rate: 2.40 guilders = US$1
  • Perspective: "A dutch person spends a guilder as an american spends a dollar." Paul, who is a heavier user of email and Usenet, spends about US$130 per month which "...amounts to almost NLG 300. You can think of this as US$ 300 a month for an american."

Developed Cost: ISP at $15 a month, no ISDN, plus 1 hour/day for offline access to email, would be around US$33 a month ($15 + $0.60 x 30). That would be about 80 guilders/month, or possibly the same as a US resident paying $80/month (for 1 hour per day of connect time). (I'd be thinking much more carefully about my Internet use at those rates.)

Excerpts from the Original Emails

I don't even download things > 8 megs. Only downloading my mail and usenet messages (offline) costs me around $100 per month, not counting the costs of the ISDN line. (I used mailfilter to toss spam etc. off the server before downloading, but that took about as long as downloading everything and then let procmail take care of things.)

True, I am indeed a heavy user, as you call it.

>should ask the question about a smaller figure.
Considering that this would amount to NLG 66 a month, then I think that would be feasable for most households, indeed.

>3. (Thinking out loud:) And, now I'm just thinking about somebody
>receiving an extra 200 messages spread over a few days from a thread
>they are not interested in. Probably annoying, but by itself probably
>won't break the bank (an extra half hour of telephone time?)

Depending on the speed of the modem, it would be 30 to 60 minutes more. But the figure I told you about connect time is in the evening (half price) and also using the phone company's 'discount number' feature (another 10% off). Connects during daytime, even with discount, is about NLG 3.60 per hour (US$ 1.50). Needless to say though that most people hit the net after the 50% off time (7pm) has come. Which in turn slows down the access terribly because everyone then jumps online at the same time.

Spam and off-topic stuff would hardly be something that would cause a major annoyance, provided that it (off topic stuff) would not go on for too long. And even then I think it would mainly be an emotional annoyance rather than one that gets into the wallet.

>So I rambled around a lot -- what is my assessment? I guess I believe
>that the extra burden of 200 messages on a mailing list in some special
>circumstance is something that someone (in the Netherlands) might be
>able to tolerate on a one time or occasional basis out of some sense of
>"neighborliness" or social connection with the maillist he has
>subscribed to, but the general problem of spam and off topic messages on
>an ongoing basis is a problem that needs a solution, and can cause a
>financial burden (in the Netherlands).) Am I way off base?

I don't think so. But it depends a lot on the mindset of the person in question. When they are not used to receiving much mail and suddenly loads of extra mail they did not expect come pouring in, that might invoke a reaction because of the sudden increase of volume.


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Topic revision: r6 - 2002-03-28 - RandyKramer
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