Thursday, March 23, 2006

FCC Chief: AT&T Can Limit Net Bandwidth

The exact nightmarish scenario I described several weeks ago may indeed come to pass.

FCC Chief Kevin Martin yesterday gave his support to AT&T and other telcos who want to be able to limit bandwidth to sites like Google, unless those sites pay extortion fees. Martin made it clear in a speech yesterday that he supports such a a "tiered" Internet.

Martin told attendees at the TelecomNext show that telcos should be allowed to charge web sites whatever they want if those sites want adequate bandwidth.

In other words, Martin's thrown in with AT&T, Verizon, and the other carriers who appear to be the same unreformed monopolists they've always been. Their idea of innovation? Erect various tollbooths on the Internet to hamper bandwidth unless someone pays extra.

Martin's fatally flawed vision would, if enacted, help destroy the innovation that has been so key to the development of the Internet. How would a boot-strapped startup, for instance, pay the tarriffs necessary to compete with the big boys' bandwidth? And if these tolls had been in place in the nineties, would Google have gone up against Yahoo and become the economic force it is today?

Highly unlikely, in my view.

Get involved by signing a petition that business and Congressional leaders will see. And copy your friends with this message so they can see what's at stake.

Networking Pipeline: FCC Chief: AT&T Can Limit Net Bandwidth

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