2006/01/17

The End of the Internet As We've Known It

It's no longer academic, Bill Smith, the CTO of BellSouth Corp. has admitted that they are in active discussions with content providers about levying additional charges for reliability and speed.

Blognonymous posted on this back when it was still "a point of view" being put forward by executives of BellSouth and AT&T, but no longer. We're seeing the end of the Internet, as a neutral carrier for content and services, unfold before our eyes. Does anyone really believe that once "pay-for-performance" is in place the telcos won't use this to their advantage? Of course not.

BellSouth claims that they merely need to recover the costs of new protocols and high-bandwidth services, but freezing out competitors, or alternately, slowing their services down just enough to make them useless also provides tremendous advantage. How about blocking a competitor entirely. Got your own version of VoIP? Well then...no need to carry Skype on your network. As for the little guys--bloggers, small businesses, Internet magazines--we risk being frozen out entirely unless we're already partnered with a bigger brother.

Indeed... this is the end of the Internet as we've known it, and no one should feel fine.

12 Comments:

Ok, I will admit to being ignorant of this whole issue so thanks for posting about it. I am guessing a lot of other folks don't know much about it either.

A couple of questions- First, what can we do to prevent this? Anything? Will Congress have a hand in it?

And I guess I am a little confused about what this all means. Are content providers basically DSL providers? Or are they companies like google, yahoo, etc? Will it be enough to protect oneself to have a web-server company as a host- like yahoo or something, as opposed to a free blog hosted by blogger (for example)?

Is this even legal?
Ok, I just went back and re-read the article you linked to and it doesn't really give a lot of specifics but it is clear that BellSouth's executive, Smith, is full of shit. He says consumers should welcome this "pay for delivery" service. Bullshit. The average web user likes it damn well how it is and he knows it.

And I see what they mean by 'content providers' now.
I hate to bust your bubble but its already here dear..roadrunner has whats known as "rr light" and I am using it to keep my costs down..its half the price of regular cable connect but its slow as hell..but..better than dialup..oh well.
Dusty, we're not talking about the bandwitch of your connection to your ISP, but rather your ISP (or a telco) deliberately speeding up or slowing down packets from...say...Google depending on the amount Google is willing to pay them.

Another unfortunate scenario would be BellSouth blocking all packets from Blogspot users because Blogger didn't "pay-up". Maybe AT&T would favor Typepad because they paid and Blogger didn't? All kinds of nastiness.
I think that this will have the possibility of a huge negative effect on the isp providers. I'm sure there will be consumer backlash. I don't know enough about it (shame...and I call myself an IT professional) but I'll be sure to research it. Now, do you think that there will be more regulation of this industry because of this?
Municipal Broadband is the way around this. We can only hope there will be regulation, but that might be overly optimistic to ask for anytime soon.
Coming soon! Oh, they've got whole boardrooms scheming how to squeeze cash out of the net.
Coming soon! Oh, they've got whole boardrooms scheming how to squeeze cash out of the net.

Neil - No truer words..."If you don' pay, I can't guarantee your packets get d'livered, and you want them d'livered, don' youse?"

Devang - I agree in principal, but as we're finding out here in Babylon by the Bay, the resistence to municipal broadband can be pretty stiff.
That's it! I'm going back to the two
cans and string.
Typical bastardism.
Finally! This is the first time I've come across a blog that has addressed the corporitazation of the internet.

http://dailydoubt.blogspot.com/2005/08/
cause-for-concern-corporatization-of.html

Its so frustrating. At one point I e-mailed several prominent blogs asking them to cover this issue but none of them gave me a response.
Its so frustrating. At one point I e-mailed several prominent blogs asking them to cover this issue but none of them gave me a response.

Coincidentally, Peter Daou at Salon didn't think this was worthy of coverage either. I mailed the link this morning, but he didn't pick it up.

Glad I could be of service.

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