BellSouth Ups the Ante

by Bruce Stewart

In what is rapidly becoming the most important story in telecom this year, BellSouth fired the latest salvo against Net Neutrality when Market Watch confirmed Monday that the Internet Access Provider is "pursuing discussions with Internet content companies to levy charges to reliably and speedily deliver their content and services." And the VoIP bloggers let out an almost instant and audible group moan.

Jeff Pulver has been predicting this battle for some time, and he's not going to take it sitting down (or wait for the politicos in Washington to notice and act). Jeff wants the big content providers to not give in to these demands, and he pleas to Google to fight back against the telcos desire to create a two-tiered Internet in Jeff Pulver to Eric Schmidt: Turn the Tide – Turn off BellSouth!. Then Jeff takes Mark Cuban to task for his recent blog post endorsing the idea of multiple levels of service.

Ted Wallingford over on the VoIP Weblog piles on in disagreement with Cuban, noting that we already have a second tier of service that has built-in QoS at a premium price -- the PSTN. Ted also tries to explain to BellSouth why In the End, Net Neutrality Will Win.

You can't charge a premium for a commodity. Bandwidth is a commodity, and this doesn't change. The market dictates the price of the commodity, not one particular player in the market.

Networking Pipeline, the PhoneBoy blog and many others were quick to jump on this latest development in what is shaking out to be a serious and rapidly escalating battle. As Jeff Pulver eloquently summarizes:

As the battle between the Internet Access Providers and Internet Application Providers rages on, it is the customers who will be hurt more than any of the underlying companies selling access or offering applications. Welcome to the game of Internet Chicken and the race to mutually assured destruction. Who will flinch first before it is too late?


2006-01-24 18:21:06
IF it isn't a neutral net, you can't call it "Internet", you shouldn't even be allowed to use the word in any of your publications - that is consumer fraud.

Bring on the class action.