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.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    john chilcutt, 31 Oct 2005 @ 11:39am


    This is a pure revenue pay -- SBC has the "pipes" and there is indeed pass-thru traffic going into the pipes. SBC is trying to find a way to pass-thru the maintained network facilities cost (read this as the net). So the $26 Trillion (yes Trillion with a T) dollars of investment world-wide becomes less of burden to their shareholders making the profit picture more rosy.. Bigger bonuses for all CEOs concerned.

    What they (SBC) would really like is the continuation and upping of the communication connection charge put on every bodies bill (if you have phone number -cell/land line/ VoIP/ Cable system connection/ or ground system connection tied to satellite/ you pay today (either hidden or posted to the bill as a tax.. There is no free lunch … This is the reason for rhetoric.

    We as tax payers just need to remind Washington where their "BEAD-AND-BUTTER” come from and where the next dollar will go if our political heroes don’t send a strong, unambiguous message to FCC through the normal rhetorical speeches – that are meant to pass messages without the need for legislation – "My constituents would not like it if you granted SBC the right to pass-thru a greater access-fee."

    Read this – your budget might get cut, FCC if you do something like that.

    Money and power -- it is a effective conbination.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.