Telcos want to rig the Internet against "freeloaders".

If telcos get their way, they'll implement a "pay-for-performance" marketplace that gives preference to content providers willing to improve the bottom line. In other words if you're Google, megabucks in the bank, you'll get to pay to have your packets delivered ahead of everyone else's.

Multiple stories in the last month have alluded to this kind of thinking. For example William Smith, BellSouth's CTO, believes that they should be allowed to implement just such a system. He also likes the idea degrading the quality of, or blocking altogether, services that compete with BellSouth offerings. So Skype, as soon as BellSouth has a VoIP offering of it's own... say goodbye.

And Smith is not alone, Edward Whitacre of AT&T believes this as well, commenting recently that, "...network operators must be free to control the type and quality of service on the system in which they have invested heavily".

The consequences of pay-for-performance should be obvious. First, individual content providers--small businesses, artists, bloggers--will be frozen out of the system unless they're willing to partner, presumably for a price, with the Yahoo!'s and Google's of the world. Second, the telcos will no longer have any incentive to upgrade their systems. Why upgrade when you can control bandwidth by blocking novel new protocols and services?

In a nutshell folks, this would be he end of the Internet as we know it, and legislation before the House Energy and Commerce Committee right now may make it so.

(Updated 2006/01/17)

They're doing it. It's no longer merely an idea..


And watch everything good about the internet go "poof"!

This issue is huge, as is the whole censoring the internet campaign the AG is waging behind America's back. Where is the MSM? Oh yeah, they'll probably get a cut of the profit so why inform americans about how terrible this would be!
No shit! Imagine what it's going to be like for bloggers. Take Blogger, for example. The people who host on Blogspot get to leverage Google. Those of us who use Blogspot but self-host are SOL.

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