Content Companies Demand Subsidies From ISPs... While ISPs Demand Subsidies From Content Companies

from the regulatory-silliness dept

It's sometimes quite amusing to watch how various economic ecosystems grow, where multiple companies have symbiotic relationships, and then start to freak out when they think that other companies in the ecosystem are somehow earning "too much." That, of course, is at the heart of many recent battles we've seen -- from net neutrality (where the ISPs think Google is earning too much) to the music industry (where record labels think ISPs and Apple are earning too much). But sometimes it leads to rather amusing contrasts. For example, up in Canada, the entertainment industry is complaining that ISPs earn too much, and therefore are pushing for laws that would require broadband providers to pay money to the entertainment industry to develop new content.

But contrast that to the situation in the UK, where there's an ongoing push for content companies to pay extra to help subsidize the cost of broadband deployments. The argument there is that all the content that's being put online is creating a drain on broadband network resources. But, isn't that exactly what the content creators in Canada are saying is a "free ride" for the ISPs?

Basically, it's yet another situation where each side of the debate overvalues its own contribution. The ISPs think that it's the network that is the most important thing, and the content providers should be paying their way to use it. Meanwhile, the content companies think that it's their content that makes the networks valuable, so the ISPs should be paying extra to offer their content. In reality, they're both wrong. The two things work together just fine in a market where each side pays its own way and doesn't have to subsidize the other. Now, if we could just see such contrasting regulations proposed and passed in the same country, we could have an amusing situation where the cross-subsidies cancel each other out.

Filed Under: content companies, isps, regulations


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2009 @ 3:41am

    If anything - this flip-flop situation simply demonstrates that both ISPs and content providers are spending far too much time thinking about the other guy. In the UK, BT has been REPEATEDLY warned about insufficient planning and investment into their broadband infrastructure. It's almost amusing in a sad way that they now demand subsidies from public coffers such as the BBC TV license bureau - I say 'almost' because as one of the people who must pay into that license, I feel as though BT has been caught with it's pants down and now we must 'bail them out.' Not exactly a phrase taxpayers like to hear these days.

    If BT feels as though they are short of money - perhaps they should recoup some cash from their overpaid exectives.

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
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

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