Table of Contents
Updated by Mitchell Paul-Soumis
Read Time: 4 mins
In the Usage Based Billing Policies: Overview and Usage, the process for creating and using policies to limit and bill for bandwidth usage. In this article, the difference between billable usage and free usage will be explained and the process for the creation of Free Usage periods will be expanded.
What is a Free Period?
In order to understand how Free Periods work, it's important to understand the difference between Billable Usage, and Free Usage.
Ordinarily, all Bandwidth Usage will be reported as Billable within an account's Data Usage section:
Two important notes about Billable Data Usage:
- All Data Usage is collected and reported as Billable even if no Usage Based Billing Policy is in place.
- Billable usage simply represents the usage that applies towards the data cap set in the Usage Based Billing Policy. The customer will only be billed for the usage if it's above that cap.
Free Usage is any bandwidth usage that occurred within the time frame defined by the Free Period, and will not be counted as billable data usage, nor will it be applied against any Usage Based Billing Policy.
Why should you implement a Free Period?
Implementing a free period has the potential of reducing user load on your network during peak hours. Providing a period of time that doesn't contribute to the monthly usage cap incentivizes "power users", the customers that represent a larger portion of the trunk's or network's usage, to restrict their usage to less congested periods of time.
This can have a positive impact on your network as a whole, balancing the daily bandwidth load across all 24 hours, rather than around only a few hours throughout the day.
Creating a Free Period
To create a new Usage Based Billing Policy Free Period, or edit an existing one, follow the below steps:
- Click on Settings
- Expand the Billing section
- Click Usage Based Billing Policy Free Periods
Click on the blue "Create new Usage Based Billing Policy Free Period" button, located in the upper-right corner to begin:
This will open the creation modal:
- The Day field will have you select one day of the week for the configuration of this particular Free Period.If you plan to have a Free period for every day of the week you would need to have multiple Free Periods created, as only one day can be selected per free period.
- The Start Time allows you to select a time the Free Period should begin.
- The End Time allows you to set when the period of Free Usage should end.You can only set the time for a period within the same day, which means if you wanted a Free period to start at 11:00 PM and end at 5:00 AM, you would build one day from 11 PM until 11:59 PM, and then another day from 12 AM until 5 AM.
- The Usage Based Billing Policy selector allows you to select from your available policies in order to assign this period of Free Usage.
Example Free Period
If you were to create a Usage Based Billing Policy Free Period, a completed modal would appear something like this:
This Free Period will begin on Sunday night at midnight, which means any bandwidth usage beginning at that point would no longer count towards billable data usage and will end in the morning at 6 AM, which means bandwidth usage will resume counting against the established Usage Based Billing policy, which is the 500GB usage policy created in the Usage Based Billing Policies: Overview and Usage article.
List View overview
The List View displays all the Usage Based Billing Free Periods on your instance, allowing you to sort, filter, and confirm them.
- The Simple/Advanced toggle allows you to switch between a simple view of filters, pictured above, or the Advanced filters. You can read more about the differences in the Filtering: Simple vs Advanced article.
- The Simple Filters allow you to filter by Day, if you have multiple Free periods on the same day, as well as by the Usage Based Billing policy the Free Period is assigned to.The Usage Based Billing policy isn't seen anywhere else in the list view, requiring either the filter or editing the Free period, if you have multiple.
- The Day column will list the Day the Free period is set to.
- The End Time column will list the end of the free period, in 24-hour format.
- The Start Time column displays when the Free Period will start, in a 24-hour format.
- The Edit button allows you to modify the parameters of the Free Period.
- Expanding the drop-down next to the Edit button allows you to delete the Free Period if it's no longer needed.