New software keeps Monash Internet surfers honest

Monash University caused a stir recently when it announced that students would be charged for excess Internet usage.Internet charges are calculated at the rate of approximately seven cents per megabyte, but the basic allowance varies between faculties.

Monash University caused a stir recently when it announced that students would be charged for excess Internet usage.

Internet charges are calculated at the rate of approximately seven cents per megabyte, but the basic allowance varies between faculties. For example, arts students receive a nominal AU$8 per month allowance during semesters, but for engineering students it is AU$10 per month. Students failing to pay any excess charges may face withdrawal of their access rights.

The university already prohibits the use of its facilities for a range of activities, including downloading audio or video files, streaming audio and video (except for streamed lectures and other in-house materials), gaming, and access to pornography.

The fully automatic measurement billing system, claimed to be the first of its kind, has been implemented in time for the start of the new academic year.

The software was developed by Sirius Telecommunications subsidiary Phoneware Communications Systems. The company invested over AU$2 million in the project, and now hopes to sell it to other Australian universities. -We are already advanced in discussions with a number of universities which have expressed strong interest," said Roger Mason, Sirius' MD. -We are also evaluating demand for this product in other market segments," he added.