Ed Whitacre Wants The End of The Internet
Important notice to readers of this blog -- if you are a customer of SBC, you may not be able to read these priceless words in the future if SBC chief Ed Whitacre has his way. Whitacre, in a candid interview with BusinessWeek, has uttered a challenge to the Internet that cannot be ignored. In short, he wants to end the Internet as we know it, bringing on a new era in which broadband providers like SBC can completely control every website, service, or person that we can access over the network that they provide. Think I am exagerating? Here is an excerpt:
BusinessWeek:How concerned are you about Internet upstarts like Google (GOOG), MSN, Vonage, and others?Hello Mr. Whitacre, I (the end consumer) am paying you for that broadband access! What makes you think it is "free?" And what makes you think that you can tell me what to do with it??
Whitacre: How do you think they're going to get to customers? Through a broadband pipe. Cable companies have them. We have them. Now what they would like to do is use my pipes free, but I ain't going to let them do that because we have spent this capital and we have to have a return on it. So there's going to have to be some mechanism for these people who use these pipes to pay for the portion they're using. Why should they be allowed to use my pipes?
The Internet can't be free in that sense, because we and the cable companies have made an investment and for a Google or Yahoo! (YHOO) or Vonage or anybody to expect to use these pipes [for] free is nuts!
I have to agree with Techdirt's observation that "If there were real competition (in providing broadband), SBC would never even dare to suggest that they might cut off a Google, Yahoo or Vonage.