Remember AT&T? I’m not talking about the classic name recently adopted by SBC when they bought the remnants of the old company. I’m thinking of the arrogant, we-own-your-phone-whatcha-gonna-do-about-it entity from the 60’s and 70’s
That kind of attitude, ramped up to 21st century levels, is now on display by the people running one of Ma Bell’s children.
“The network builders are spending a fortune constructing and maintaining the networks that Google intends to ride on with nothing but cheap servers,” Thorne [senior vice president and deputy general counsel for Verizon] told a conference marking the 10th anniversary of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. “It is enjoying a free lunch that should, by any rational account, be the lunch of the facilities providers.”
The bottom line here is that Verizon, along with the other monopoly phone companies, want to squeeze as much money as they can out of both ends of their pipes. In their ideal world they will be charging me a whole lot of money for “service” and the companies that send the data to me for “access”.
In the end, however, Verizon and the other connection companies would adopt the role of gatekeepers (or toll booth operators), deciding for us what content would be available through their wires. Not unlike China.
To combat this idea of access providers as de-facto internet regulators, a number of organizations are currently lobbying Congress to enact into law the concept of net neutrality. This is the idea that “all users are entitled to access content and services or run applications and devices of their choice”.
That seems logical enough. But remember, we’re dealing with Congress and some very large companies with very deep pockets. Logic doesn’t apply when large campaign contributions are involved.