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We discuss charging for the network in the next chapter. Charging for information is a very different matter, and will be essential for a number of information providers to offer quality services on the Internet.

The prime requirement is for various degrees of security, and we discuss those in the next section. Currently, we would advise against transmitting billing information or credit card information on the Internet unless you have made yourself very familiar with some of this technology.

WWW makes it quite straightforward to account for access, and therefore to work out a charging scheme. The user is identifiable (subject to security) and each item retrieved is identifiable, and most servers already provide extensive logging. It is then simply a matter of working out a policy, and implementing it. Note that without a guaranteed service delivery channel (see next chapter) it is hard to bill for timeliness of delivery of information.

Jon Crowcroft
Wed May 10 11:46:29 BST 1995