Tuesday, January 17, 2006

More Internet Idiots

The geniuses over at Bell South have thought up a new crack pot idea to get more revenue - charge content providers for the honor of having their traffic going over Bell South's network. From Internet Daily:
Bill Smith, chief technology officer at BellSouth, justified content charging companies by saying they are using the telco's network without paying for it.
'Higher usage for broadband services drives more costs that we have to recover,' he said in a telephone interview.
What? It's hardly the content providers fault if those morons aren't charging their customers enough. They're also more than free to offer plans based on the amount of bandwidth a customer uses over a period of time.

The method they're pursuing has a big technological hurdle as well. If I'm at my house soaking up bandwidth with bittorrent, e-donkey, bearshare, or other peer-to-peer programs, it's impossible to recover any fees since there is no formal 'provider' for the content. The only answer would then be to throttle or kill the bandwidth of everyone/thing that hasn't paid. The only issue with this is that this has already been tried. It's the exact model that CompuServe and AOL used before the Internet killed off that business model (though apparently not permanently).

There's another issue as well. Users pay the ISP so that they can access the content on the Internet, in other words, the content providers are providing the basis for their product. The system more symbiotic than the tech officer's characterization of the content providers as freeloading leaches. It would be like soda machine manufacturers asking Coke and Pepsi to give them a cut of each soda sold, as if the machine could exist without any product in it. Another quote:
He suggested that Apple Computer might be asked to pay a nickel or a dime to insure the complete and rapid transmission of a song via the Internet, which is being used for more and more content-intensive purposes. He cited Yahoo Inc.'s Inc. plans to stream reality TV shows as an example.
I'm sure that sounds good to the idiots in the boardroom, but have they asked themselves how long their Internet service provider business would be around if Apple, Google, Yahoo, and/or Microsoft decided not to allow their traffic onto Bell South's network because they don't feel like putting up with this extortion?

(This whole thing smells like SCO's attempt to get licensing fees out of shops that use Linux. They were able to get a couple wary parties to sign up, as well as some companies (Sun and Microsoft) that had ulterior motives, but most everyone else to them to go screw themselves).

(UPDATE 1/19/06: Google tells Verizon and Bell South to go suck pipe.)

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