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
    S, 31 Oct 2005 @ 10:30am

    price wars

    If I sign up for a service and then my service doesn't work the way it was promised, I leave.

    If I can get better service someplace else for a different price (either lower or higher). I will do so.

    The way I see it is that they are in this price war for customer grab without the service behind the price. Don't charge me less while promising the world (entire internet content) if you can't keep providing the service.

    As a DSL user, I (if I were still an SBC customer) would be punished because SBC didn't use the right price model.

    I thought that was what the one year contracts were for? So that at the end of your contract they could say, "Oh, we need to charge you more unless you want to promise to stay with us for another year." Or they could say, "Well, our new contract price is just $5 more because of xyz."

    I left SBC because of nightmareish service. They took three months to get my dsl back up after I moved, and forced me to change my email address because they couldnt reactivate my original account. Then I was sent a letter saying my year contract was up and I could go month to month for just $5 without doing anything...so my bill went up $20 and I had to fax them a copy of the letter THEY sent me!

    I also ordered a disconnect and it took them two months and repeated phone calls for them to actually do the disconnect and stop billing me. Now they owe me a check ... we will see how long it takes to get that back. I'm not holding my breath.

    It doesn't suprise me that they are looking for more revenue...

    but the world has become more computer savy and I can't imagne smart people buying a service that blocks them from using the entire internet they way they want. I know I would use a different company and would pay a little more just so I have the freedom to do what I want.

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