Sunday, November 06, 2005
... This isn’t about freeloaders; it’s about tollbooths. As local access monopolies, the baby Bells have been able to maintain tollbooths for voice traffic for years. Voice over IP (VoIP) got much of its original impetus by providing a bypass around those tollbooths. Even though they’ve done better than their long distance rivals (whom they are now buying), it’s getting harder and harder for the baby Bells to increase or even maintain profits. They could have been leaders in Internet access but they weren’t. Now they are providing DSL – great. Now they would like to erect new tollbooths on what used to be called the Information Super Highway – that sucks.
... Whitacre’s arrogance led him to take on too many opponents at once. He might have gotten away with considerable pressure on the VoIP providers. But he chose to take on Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo at the same time. Although these companies are just learning how to lobby, they have the money to do it successfully. Jeff Pulver – who has been doing a great job of FCC watch – chronicles some recent successes in Congress here and does a very thoughtful examination of the larger issues here.