The Internet according to SBC
You can follow this in detail on Public Knowledge's blog or on the special section of Ed Markey's site dedicated to Net Neutrality.
Remember this interview with Edward Whiteacre, the CEO of SBC Communications?
How concerned are you about Internet upstarts like Google (GOOG), MSN, Vonage, and others?
How do you think they're going to get to customers? Through a broadband pipe. Cable companies have them. We have them. 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! (YHOO) or Vonage or anybody to expect to use these pipes [for] free is nuts!
I remember when lots of people used to say that 'information wants to be free.' I used to think this as well. The reality is that information is brought to you by pipes, and the government currently makes sure that no one can regulate what goes through those pipes. That's why the internet works, and if ATT had had its way, the internet would never have been created. You see, as Moveon is constantly finding out, when a large company has the right to choose what gets shown through its pipes, they often choose censorship. The internet's architecture has made this impossible, until now.
You see, the right-wing movement has just turned its attention to the free nature of the internet. No, this is no joke. There's a really nasty bill threading through Congress put out by telco-funded Joe Barton that will basically wreck the ability of ordinary people to use the internet, making the web the province of large and well-capitalized companies. Barton's bill will allow telecom companies to charge people for putting up web sites, blogging, using VOIP services, IMing, or anything else. It will allow them to discrimate against certain types of content, and yes, that's an ominous and very bad step. Congressman Markey is working against it, and for the principle of 'net neutrality'.
This is scary stuff. The right-wing used to be against regulation; as it turns out, they just want to privatize who gets to regulate.
Barton isn't the brightest of people and his bill would, ultimately face the same fate as other internet regulatory bills. And here's why:
Microsoft and IBM.
Barton's bill would cripple them, Cisco and damn near every major company in the US. Just like Goodmail.
The problem is that the telcos see the Internet as this vast pool of untapped money and facing all manner of opposition and profit threats want to tap into this sea of money they see passing by.
Only problem, people hate telcos and like Google and Microsoft and there is jus no way this bill survives the opposition to it from America's largest and most popular corporations. And they will opposite it.
The IM interopertativity issue is completely different. If there is one IM standard AOL loses a real economic advantage and hen gets swamped by MS's new built in IM tool inVista or Vista service pack 1.
A lot of people on the left miss the obvious issue here, and it isn't blogs. It is corporate e-mail.
How much would it cost for T-Mobile to pay for their e-mails, from retail outlets to US HQ to Germany? At the volumes they conduct business, tolls sudenly makes this a drain on the corporate budget. The same with contractors who deal with these companies. Ad agencies, graphic artists, commercial directors, PR, the whole web of outside companies which work with the corporate world.
The pool of money SBC sees is NOT going to come from Google and Yahoo, but from GM, Nike and Kraft. The consumer market for the internet is deceptive. You hear aboutMySpace and AOLIM and you think the goldmine is there. It isn't.
It is the millions of dull, everyday corporate e-mails which provide the bulk of the internet's traffic and drove the need for broadband. Not games, not blogs.
The revolution in communications is not the one we see in our daily lives, that's the leading edge of it, it's the way that banks now save millions on messenger fees, how you can do your banking online, saving banks millions in tellers. It's a sea of things we now take for granted and what SBC wants to undue for phantom profits. The money they think is there isn't. Gateways around Google would cost companies millions.
What SBC sees as quick money could, instead cripple American business competitativeness
posted by Steve @ 12:03:00 AM