Friday, November 04, 2005

So I misinterpreted SBC's Mr. Whitacre 

Obviously SBC got nervous about my post ;-) and others commenting on the statements of Mr. Whitacre in last weeks BusinessWeek Online interview: "At SBC, its all about Scale and Scope"

In todays Washington Post article SBC Head Ignites Access Debate I got the reply that I misinterpreted Mr. Whitacre and a clarification:

SBC spokesman Michael Balmoris said Whitacre was not talking about charging companies for letting customers access their Web sites. Rather, he said, Whitacre was referring to access Internet companies may want to the "managed and secure" portions of the fiber-optic network SBC is building largely to deliver video to customer homes.

"SBC has not and will not block or limit access to lawful content or applications on the Internet," he said. "Mr. Whitacre's comments are being misinterpreted. They were not made in the context of the Internet, but rather SBC's $4 billion investment in its new fiber network to provide Internet-based video services," Balmoris said.

The spokesman said SBC might strike commercial agreements with companies such as Google, Yahoo and Vonage to give them access to that part of its network.

Whatever Whitacre meant, critics said his remarks strengthened their hand.

Kevin Werbach now gets even more suspicious:

Ahh, so broadband over fiber isn't going to be "the Internet." It's going to be a private, tolled garden controlled by the phone companies. The network operators are building the network, so they believe they can control what applications and content appear on the network, at what price. Tell me again how this is different from the narrowband Internet of yesteryear, and the DSL/cable modem broadband Internet of today?

The clarification only makes me more worried about the broadband future.

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