Kitz Forum

Chat => Tech Chat => Topic started by: Weaver on August 08, 2018, 02:37:04 AM

Title: Charging for internet usage
Post by: Weaver on August 08, 2018, 02:37:04 AM
Is there a way that I could charge Mrs Weaver's B&B guests for internet downloads and uploads per MB so that we could make a profit out of reselling connectivity? Acquiring additional bandwidth costs us an awful lot and 4G usage is very expensive. Also if it is too much of a pain to administer, meter and collect the cash, then Mrs Weaver will not be interested, because she has enough on her plate.

Obviously hotels have integrated systems in place but they are likely to be way too big and too costly for us, as Janet has just about the smallest hotel in the world with only two rooms. I am looking for a shortcut trick that is very cheap.

I very much doubt that this is feasible but I wondered if anyone has any good ideas.
Title: Re: Charging for internet usage
Post by: Ixel on August 08, 2018, 09:47:18 AM
A freeware RADIUS server which includes 'accounting' should do the job, as long as the means of 'logging in' is simple enough for your guests. You should then be able to track their data usage.
Title: Re: Charging for internet usagerate
Post by: Ronski on August 08, 2018, 10:16:23 AM
The cheapest option is to charge a flat rate per night and setup a WiFi network per room and simply change the wireless key for the respective room as required. You could limit the amount of devices allowed to connect each network to stop key sharing with occupants of the other room.

It would be worth explaining in your info folder why you charge, most people expect free WiFi, but  a short explanation that you have four lines to get broadband will explain it.
Title: Re: Charging for internet usagerate
Post by: chenks on August 08, 2018, 10:54:25 AM
The cheapest option is to charge a flat rate per night and setup a WiFi network per room and simply change the wireless key for the respective room as required. You could limit the amount of devices allowed to connect each network to stop key sharing with occupants of the other room.

It would be worth explaining in your info folder why you charge, most people expect free WiFi, but  a short explanation that you have four lines to get broadband will explain it.

i'm not sure many will care (or understand why) how many lines it takes or how the internet is delivered, most just want access and usually expect it for free.

also, trying to explain why Mrs X has an internet bill because her phone uploaded photos to the cloud whilst connected to WIFI might be a tough sell, and may end up giving the B&B a bad rep.
Title: Re: Charging for internet usage
Post by: kitz on August 08, 2018, 12:11:24 PM
I think I'd be tempted to agree with Ronski.     You perhaps don't need to go into the 4 line detail, but perhaps just keep it simple by saying additional overhead costs due to the remote location.     I should image most people would understand that.

Quote
Mrs X has an internet bill because her phone uploaded photos to the cloud whilst connected to WIFI might be a tough sell, and may end up giving the B&B a bad rep.

Valid point and many guests may not be aware that this could happen... and why perhaps it may be better just to charge a flat rate fee rather than by usage.

Most of the hotels I've stayed in either
(a) offer it free   
(b) offer it free but you only get low bit rate with option to upgrade  or
(c) charge a flat rate fee per night.
Unless they are part of a large group I don't think many hotels charge for Mb actually used due to complexity of administration. 
Title: Re: Charging for internet usage
Post by: licquorice on August 08, 2018, 12:18:15 PM
I have to say I've never known any hotel to charge per MB and I've stayed in a lot of large group business hotels.
Title: Re: Charging for internet usage
Post by: DaveC on August 08, 2018, 01:57:08 PM
From your other posts, I understand you're on A&A's old "Units" tariff?  If so, then that would be a very dangerous thing to let your guests use - 2.5GB/month/unit during daytime hours will quickly go.

With the SoHo::1 tariff now giving you 5TB a month, I would be more inclined to move to one (or more) lines on that tariff (the others would need to be on the lower-bandwidth SoHo::1 tariffs to bond them), and then recover that cost by giving your guests unlimted access for a flat-rate daily charge.

As others have said, I don't think guests would want to have to worry about their usage being charged by the MB - I know I definitely wouldn't.
Title: Re: Charging for internet usage
Post by: boost on August 08, 2018, 02:17:56 PM
Easily doable, no doubt but proceed with caution, perhaps?

The last thing I want to have to think about is metering my usage in a hotel/bnb and if it ever caused me to have to allocate even a minute of my time to it's consideration, I would likely look elsewhere for accommodation next time.
Title: Re: Charging for internet usage
Post by: boost on August 08, 2018, 02:22:47 PM
As an aside, A&A is starting to sound like a massive pain in the ass?

No CPE QoS and pay per GB??

Do you really need bonding or would 4 el cheapo lines from PN/TT and an open source load balancer do the trick for you?

I appreciate you may have this setup coz it's cool and don't actually *need* anything :)
Title: Re: Charging for internet usage
Post by: jelv on August 08, 2018, 07:14:51 PM
If uploading is an issue (as Weaver has said previously) surely load balancing is an absolute non-starter as even if he had 10 lines, each upload would only go up a single line (i.e. at around 400-500Kbps). With bonding he will be getting approaching 2Mbps upload.

I think you'd only have to move one line to SOHO::1 - £60 + VAT for 5000GB (or Home::1 £50 for 2000GB) and have the other three lines on the lowest possible charge (would staying on the units based charging with the minimum 2 units be cheaper than SOHO?) as the usage is balanced across all lines.
Title: Re: Charging for internet usage
Post by: sevenlayermuddle on August 08, 2018, 07:44:18 PM
Main point that occurs to me is, at present, I bet at least some, maybe most most of your guests appreciate the location and will be sympathetic to the fact that internet throughout is suboptimal.   But if you start charging, might they become less sympathetic, leaving bad reviews etc?

Would it not be an option to just restrict bandwidth on the guestís lan so that, even if they are greedy, you still have some left for yourselves?
Title: Re: Charging for internet usage
Post by: Ixel on August 08, 2018, 09:15:13 PM
If uploading is an issue (as Weaver has said previously) surely load balancing is an absolute non-starter as even if he had 10 lines, each upload would only go up a single line (i.e. at around 400-500Kbps). With bonding he will be getting approaching 2Mbps upload.

I think you'd only have to move one line to SOHO::1 - £60 + VAT for 5000GB (or Home::1 £50 for 2000GB) and have the other three lines on the lowest possible charge (would staying on the units based charging with the minimum 2 units be cheaper than SOHO?) as the usage is balanced across all lines.

Yeah that's possible as long as all of the lines are on the same type of tariff then you can have a mix of quotas. For my two lines I have SoHo::1 at the moment and one is 5TB while the other is the lowest quota I can order (200GB I believe), but they automatically balance the quota between them. I don't know if you could have all four lines together with only one on SoHo::1 or Home::1 while the other three are still on the 'legacy' units based tariff, I somehow think that's not do-able.
Title: Re: Charging for internet usage
Post by: DaveC on August 08, 2018, 09:41:05 PM
AAISP used to sell extra lines with no quota at all for bonding - I'm guessing Weaver has that arrangement.  So he will have Units on one line, and no explicit quota on the others.

I don't think AAISP have offered this for a while, but perhaps they would let Weaver convert his units line to SoHo::1 and keep the others as "no quota".

But yes, as Ixel said, in general bonded lines have to belong to the same quota "family" - Home::1, SoHo::1, Units etc.  You can't mix them.

I'm similar - Home::1 2TB on line 1, Home::1 200GB on line 2.
Title: Re: Charging for internet usage
Post by: Weaver on August 09, 2018, 02:00:57 AM
I just have traditional units on all lines so I pay x per line plus £3.90 * 2 per month for traffic. And I get more than I can use because it is only £3.90 per TB [!] overnight. So I do massive downloads overnight, four hour downloads flat out and then have stuff to use offline in the day.

I could not give guests ADSL, do not have the bandwidth to spare. And just like you say, would end up with people moaning like the Waldorf Salad, and bad reviews etc because it is not free and not 50Mbps per users. I could resell 4G, or just tell them to use 4G, even give them a free SIM if they don't have one (foreign sim, wrong network - Vodafone definitely useless also O2 poss for some reason). But the latter option would mean that I don't make any profit from it. and have the admin. And free SIMs see, to be more difficult to get hold of these days for some reason. I have stayed in hotels where they charge you x per day or even per hour and no usage metering. But i think guests in hotels like free internet. If I stay at the Savoy in London, I wonder if there is free internet, maybe 1 Gbps per guest and 802.1ac wave 2 would be nice.

Saying we have no internet to offer, is part of the remoteness myth romantic off the grid thing and you have excellent 4G anyway. But in the future some people may be Waldorf Salads, and we are fresh out of waldorfs.

If I pay for FTTP ethernet at £100k, then I need the guest to repay me. and they won't can't and there are not enough of them. But that is what they will expect.
Title: Re: Charging for internet usage
Post by: chenks on August 09, 2018, 08:04:40 AM
If I pay for FTTP ethernet at £100k, then I need the guest to repay me. and they won't can't and there are not enough of them. But that is what they will expect.

i'm not sure that's the right mentality (if that is the right word to use).
you should be looking at it as an investment in the business rather than something you would want the guests to pay for.

i assume that if you did get FTTP installed then you would use it as well, and it wouldn't just be limited to guest use only.
would you expect the guests to pay for replacing all your towels or bed sheets?
WIFI is just another "service" that your business would offer and as such should be seen as a business investment.
Title: Re: Charging for internet usage
Post by: aesmith on August 09, 2018, 08:24:55 AM
Meraki wireless access points allow you to meter and restrict Internet traffic on a per client of per SSID basis, and models with client Ethernet ports allow the same policy to be applied to wired devices.
Title: Re: Charging for internet usage
Post by: Weaver on August 09, 2018, 08:27:36 AM
Yes, but the business has to pay for itself, if we don't make a profit then there is no point in running it.

As for the £100k fttp, I see your point, we would enjoy it as well and it might increase the value of our property. However, there is a slim chance that we might get FTTP in 2021 and then we have thrown away a fortune for no reason when we could have paid the small mortgage off instead. I am not working, being confined to bed, and so I do not have limitless income. And we are too small. Janet can't handle the work as she is not well and we can't expand into more rooms as we do not have the land and would in any case not want to ruin the experience of solitude for the guest by turning it into a caravan park basically. We only have two rooms., and so people are not on top of one another.

But coming back to FTTP, I could not sell that to Janet. I can do what I need now although it is a pain, and I can in fact cover the guestsí needs too because of the excellent 4G, but how to make that manageable?

Basically one needs to think like a customer, which is easy because I used to be one and Janet is superb at that. She gets people coming back three times for instance and has incredible ratings on trip advisor and no complaints ever apart from the occasional outright loony or nasty piece of work. Like a vile family from Israel where the husband picked this place and then the wife freaked out about his choice and was wanting us to basically build a cottage for her at the last minute. I suggested to Janet that they should just go to a four star or five star hotel and then they would be happy. When they turned up the wife was just screaming at the husband about picking a wooden box in the middle of a field surrounded by mountains, which people choose just precisely for the features which she detested. Simply insane and did not read the label on the tin. Being extremely foreign was no excuse because english was excellent.

But despite thinking like a customer, that has to be a sane one. If the customer wants everything including the moon on a stick they still have to pay for it, and if financially challenged then they are someone elseís customer. I personally find it really annoying when some things are not (apparently) free, and so others will think like that too, so those have to just be factored in and hidden away in the base price so that you do not disappoint. We are so overloaded with demand that I constantly suggest raising prices, but Janet knows best. We do explain to people why some things need to be paid for, however they are charged, and explain what things do cost us. And I think people appreciate that. We are not trying to take in more customers because we are booked solid all the time.
Title: Re: Charging for internet usage
Post by: kitz on August 09, 2018, 10:00:01 AM
Weaver, is it just your property or are there other locals with the same problem of not being able to get better broadband?
Title: Re: Charging for internet usage
Post by: jelv on August 09, 2018, 10:10:08 AM
If you are overloaded with demand and get a lot of return guests in spite of not having WiFi, why the hell are you thinking you need to provide it?

If you get to a point where the occupancy rate is falling and people don't book after they find you have no WiFi, then would be the time to consider it.
Title: Re: Charging for internet usage
Post by: chenks on August 09, 2018, 10:18:50 AM
If you are overloaded with demand and get a lot of return guests in spite of not having WiFi, why the hell are you thinking you need to provide it?

good point.
it appears you don't really have a problem.

having WIFI as a selling point may attract the wrong type of customer anyway.
Title: Re: Charging for internet usage
Post by: Weaver on August 09, 2018, 11:25:55 AM
@kitz I don't ever leave the house, so can't really speak for others, but I would think none of the other locals care about the internet anyway, as long as they can get an email, for those who do B&B and they can do that on dial-up, and those used to 500k know no different and certainly would never pay a penny more than the rock bottom. Young people might well be an exception, but they all leave. Everyone in the village does have DSL. It gets spectacularly worse as you go down the hill and add another 1200m to the line length, plus multiple joints plus the rf noise from houses. My neighbour at no 4 used to get the same sync rate as me before I worked on improving every last thing I could and went tuning- and hygiene-crazy. There are now some more English-speaking incomers whom I have not met and they might possibly be fed up about it, having been used to FTTC for all I know. Also one dutch native speaker, one of our two doctors, used to be four doctors.
Title: Re: Charging for internet usage
Post by: Weaver on August 09, 2018, 11:30:35 AM
@jelv I don't think I need to provide it, which is why I have not done so. I am researching it in case expectations change a lot. If it could become a profit source though that would be an instant go. If I could advertise that superb internet is available, then some people might love that, if they are addicts, some might hate it because they want to be out of contact.

I am i) looking ahead, being prepared ii) learning and iii) trying to see if there is an opportunity to increase profit by every side method I can, in case we have missed something. If we can delight guests and make some money then that is good.

That enough for you?  ;D

I think you have to track changes in expectations - look at the M&S disaster of some years back.
Title: Re: Charging for internet usage
Post by: Weaver on August 09, 2018, 11:34:43 AM
> having WIFI as a selling point may attract the wrong type of customer anyway

I agree, I think, sort of. As well might even put a few off, as they would feel more guilty about lying to work and saying they are truly uncontactable. I know a couple of places where they really could be.
Title: Re: Charging for internet usage
Post by: Ronski on August 10, 2018, 10:10:05 AM
You may find this thread useful regards 3G/4G

http://forums.thinkbroadband.com/mobilebroadband/f/4593566-use-unlimited-data-sim-in-4g-router.html
Title: Re: Charging for internet usage
Post by: Weaver on August 11, 2018, 04:24:49 AM
That is really interesting - the unlimited Three thing. I wonder if there is an unlimited EE deal? We have EE 4G and Three 4G here. In my bed, at the wrong end of the bedroom, in a stone-walled house, the windows are looking east right towards the basestation. Perhaps I am too low, below the level of the window sill, or at the wrong angle slightly horizontally, but I usually get only 3G and rarely 4G in bed with my iPad. Just now 2 bars 3G.

I could definitely look into that.

--

From that thread, an interesting comment -

Quote
new european ruling in the last week or so giving the public free use to do what ever they wanted to do with their sims.

Is this true?
Title: Re: Charging for internet usage
Post by: Ronski on August 11, 2018, 08:19:34 AM
No idea if it's true, but if it is imagine the speed you could get if you used a setup with an external aerial, or something like this.

https://www.outdoorrouter.com/product/uk-4g-outdoor-wifi-router-british/?attribute_pa_cellular-broadband-antenna=default-5db-cellular-frp-antenna

Theres even a high gain antenna available for weak signal areas.
Title: Re: Charging for internet usage
Post by: Ronski on August 11, 2018, 08:36:42 AM
Found this.

Www.ebay.co.uk/itm/172982345805

Which is https://airinternet.co.uk


Title: Re: Charging for internet usage
Post by: Weaver on August 11, 2018, 08:42:13 AM
I already have one - Solwise model, was mentioned recently in a thread somewhere. But mine is not an outdoor one. It has an upgrade high-gain antenna too, but Mrs Weaver has lost that, which I am rather fed up about because now I am going to have to buy another, unless I can get someone to search through all the disarray to help me find it. (I do not know if these things are standardised or whether I need to get precisely the right model.)

I was just thinking that although AA's 4G service would bankrupt me because it is metered by the byte, there is an unlimited direct Three service which I could use which I was just tipped off about and I could run L2TP over that to give me access to AA's services and give me proper IPv4 addressing, IPv6, monitoring, no censorship or traffic-shaping or snooping, and all AA's other goodies too. That would save me a certain amount of money but the speed would be totally unpredictable. Too much hassle because I would be stuffed if it went down or went slow because of greedy users.

It can be unreliable but this is not frequent although it does tend to die when there is a mains outage which I think is outrageous. I have probably said this before, but in my opinion, UPS plus generator should be legally required in order to safeguard people eg those who have health emergencies, road users and seafarers.
Title: Re: Charging for internet usage
Post by: gt94sss2 on September 04, 2018, 02:18:51 AM
That is really interesting - the unlimited Three thing. I wonder if there is an unlimited EE deal? We have EE 4G and Three 4G here.

--

From that thread, an interesting comment -

Is this true?

It's not a new EU ruling but Ofcom investigating 3's compliance with the current rules: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/about-ofcom/latest/bulletins/competition-bulletins/all-closed-cases/cw_01218
Title: Re: Charging for internet usage
Post by: tickmike on September 08, 2018, 02:49:14 PM
If it was not Free WiFi I would look for another place to stop  :o.
Have some bikes to hire them instead.