Pricing by timing: Innovating broadband data plans

Sangtae Ha, Carlee Joe-Wong, Soumya Sen, Mung Chiang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

21 Scopus citations


Wireless Internet usage is doubling every year. Users are using more of high bandwidth data applications, and the heavy usage concentrates on several peak hours in a day, forcing ISPs to overprovision their networks accordingly. In order to remain profitable, ISPs have been using pricing as a congestion management tool. We review many of such pricing schemes in practice today and argue that they do not solve ISPs' problem of growing data traffic. We believe that dynamic, time-dependent usage pricing, which charges users based on when they access the Internet, can incentivize users to spread out their bandwidth consumption more evenly across different times of the day, thus helping ISPs to overcome the problem of peak congestion. Congestion pricing is not a new idea in itself, but the time for its implementation in data networks has finally arrived. Our key contribution lies in developing new analysis and a fully integrated system architecture, called TUBE (Time-dependent Usage-based Broadband price Engineering) that enables ISPs to implement the proposed TDP plan. The theory, simulation, and system implementation of TUBE system is further complemented with consumer surveys conducted in India and the US, along with preparations for a field trial that is currently underway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBroadband Access Communication Technologies VI
StatePublished - 2012
EventBroadband Access Communication Technologies VI - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 24 2012Jan 26 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceBroadband Access Communication Technologies VI
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • B roadband pricing
  • Data plans
  • Network economics


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