Telecoms Circle the Wagons

    February 7, 2006

John Thorne, a Verizon exec, has joined the chorus of telecom voices decrying content providers who get a “free ride” using the pipes the telecoms and cable companies have built, according to a Washington Post report.

Verizon, along with BellSouth, AT&T, and others, want to charge Google and other content providers for the use of their networks.

I still am amazed at the audacity of the telecoms, who already reap a fortune from the fees you and I pay to access this content over their networks. Imagine paying your cable company for the shows you watch and then learning that the cable company also charged Discovery Channel and HBO to send their content over the cables. Absurd, isn’t it? The cable companies pay the content providers; when the content providers increase their fees, those costs are passed along to us, the customers. But the telecoms want it both ways-they want to charge the consumers AND the content providers and make money on both ends. The ethics of this philosophy make Jack Abramoff look like a saint.

Vint Cert, often referred to as the father of the Internet, sees other reasons to fear the telecoms’ greed. In the post interview, Cerf (who now works for Google), said, “”My big concern is that suddenly access providers want to step in the middle and create a toll road to limit customers’ ability to get access to services of their choice even though they have paid for access to the network in the first place.”

Since Congress is going to start discussing the issue (and the telecoms have a powerful lobby), we in the US need to make our feelings known to our legislators. I’ve never (to my recollection) used this blog to urge anybody to write their legislators. I’m doing it now. This outrage is goes far beyond the pale and must be stopped.

Read more about the issue here and especially here.

Shel Holtz is principal of Holtz Communication + Technology which focuses on helping organizations apply online communication capabilities to their strategic organizational communications.

As a professional communicator, Shel also writes the blog a shel of my former self.