Verizon Joins The Net Greed Chorus

    January 6, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Yet another telecom CEO, this time Verizon’s Ivan Seidenberg, sees the need for content providers like Google and Microsoft as well as consumers to pay for the network.

Seidenberg said application providers need to “share the cost” of broadband, and cited how Verizon has been discussing the issue with Google already, a TechWeb report said.

Unlike AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre and BellSouth CTO Willam Smith, both openly critical of companies like Google and VoIP service Vonage, Seidenberg went for the softer approach. He noted that those providers need a network to reach their customers.

In calling for “the right economic model,” Seidenberg referenced “free” applications, such as those supported by advertising. Those don’t provide any direct compensation to the network provider.

It’s an interesting claim, and echoes those made by Whitacre and Smith. Despite their positions within their telecom companies, none of them seem to realize that numerous customers pay them each month for use of those broadband networks. Perhaps ‘direct compensation’ has a different meaning in telecom than it does in other industries.

However, Verizon must be given some credit for not declaring open war on “net neutrality.” The company’s VP for public affairs, policy, and communication, Tom Tauke, said in the report that Verizon actually favors codifying “network neutrality” laws. He also said Verizon would not go so far as to block an application like VoIP.

Verizon is no stranger to forcing more favorable agreements when it comes to use of its network. Seidenberg recounted in the story how the company did so for 800-service providers:

“When we offered 800 numbers, our network got flooded and we responded by choking the network,” Seidenberg said, adding that the company then negotiated with 800-service providers to help pay for their usage in a manner that made sense for both parties.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.