SBC: We Own The Internet, So Google Should Pay Up

from the uh-oh.--trouble-coming. dept

It's become pretty clear that Kevin Martin's FCC has no problem considering "competition" in the broadband space to mean incumbent telcos vs. incumbent cable companies. So far, the FCC has done just about everything possible to make it much harder for any third parties to get into the game. So is it really any surprise to hear the CEO of SBC, Ed Whitacre, in an interview suggest that it's only a matter of time before they start going after any of the services that make the internet useful to try to make them pay up to remain reachable? When asked about companies like Google, Yahoo and Vonage, he says: "Now what they would like to do is use my pipes free, but I ain't going to let them do that because we have spent this capital and we have to have a return on it. So there's going to have to be some mechanism for these people who use these pipes to pay for the portion they're using. Why should they be allowed to use my pipes? The Internet can't be free in that sense, because we and the cable companies have made an investment and for a Google or Yahoo! or Vonage or anybody to expect to use these pipes [for] free is nuts!" In other words, he's talking about going well beyond blocking some ports like BellSouth, to actually blocking out websites and services unless they first pay SBC a fee. It certainly has the feel of extortion: pay up or no one on our network will be able to reach your website. If you thought that mess Level 3 and Cogent was problematic, just wait until you can't access Google from SBC, because Google fails to pay up SBC's "connection" fees. What Whitacre seems to be forgetting is that it's all of these services and the ability to connect that makes the internet access worthwhile. Now who was just saying that network neutrality wasn't needed? Notice that the only reason this is possible now is because there's less competition in the broadband space, not more. If there were real competition, SBC would never even dare to suggest that they might cut off a Google, Yahoo or Vonage.

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  1. identicon
    Ben McNelly, 31 Oct 2005 @ 8:19am

    SBC is scared....

    Here's the point... SBC is scared as heck that VOIP and broadband internet are going to kill them. They are already suffering from people who instead using a home phone just use a cell phone. (And with low cost satellite like DISH Network, who need’s cable either? )
    So, in order to get as many people as possible on their "services" they basically give away internet (DSL) so they can get you on extra phone charges, fees, long distance and a contract with severe cancellation penalties. They are also going to pull all punches bureaucratically that they can as far as lobbying this way and that to ensure people still NEED their "Pipes"...
    - Fact is, they have good reason to fear anyone who openly promotes the expansion of the internet (like google) without the restraints of major corporations who don’t just want a piece of the pie, but want have their cake and eat it too (not sure why I am using dessert analogies)...
    Not that google is O'so inoccent itself...
    This also brings up the argument that “google” is the anti-christ. Think about it, socially active, globally respected, has the ability to bring the world together and ultimately promise world peace, but is also probably gathering data on everyone of us through our searches, their toolbar, gmail, and basically re-inventing the way the internet works... Someday we will be able to have a chip installed that connects us wirelessly to the internet so we can shop and pay with wave of a hand!
    (I just thought I would throw that in there so SBC doesent read this and see me as a viable threat and have me illiminated, by canadian mercinaries...)

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