FCC Chief: AT&T Can Limit Net Bandwidth

FCC Chief: AT&T Can Limit Net Bandwidth

FCC Chief Kevin Martin yesterday gave his support to AT&T and other telcos who want to be able to limit bandwidth to sites like Google, unless those sites pay extortion fees. Martin made it clear in a speech yesterday that he supports such a a “tiered” Internet.

Last year, AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre said Google and Vonage were “nuts” for thinking they could “use these [AT&T's] pipes for free”.

So even though Google is paying (someone) for hosting/bandwidth to run the site, and we the customers are paying our ISPs for our internet connection bandwidth, the ISPs should also be able to charge the sites? As it is is, both ends of the connection are already paying for the person to look at the website. When websites pass these extra costs on to end users based on their ISP, I wonder how much money the ISPs will make off that after all their customers have switched to ISPs that don’t incur these extra costs?

It looks like Mr. Whitacre may have realized this, or it may just be spin to make you think they’re not trying to charge as much money as possible for anything anywhere near them. “Any provider who blocks access to the Internet is inviting customers to find another provider,” Whitacre said in his keynote speech. “It’s bad business.” He then emphatically stated that AT&T would not block independent services, “nor will we degrade [Internet access]. Period, end of story.”

While we’re on the subject of telcos, what happened to all that fiber that they’re running to everyone’s houses? You know, the 86 million households with 45Mb (both ways) connections by 2006 that got them $200 billion worth of tax cuts and incentives. You can find a couple articles about Bruce Kushnick’s book on this topic here and here.

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