Wednesday, March 15, 2006

VON Day 0 - Charging for My Pipes Flu is Spreading 

Lawrence Lessig in his keynote mentioned the wierd idea of AT&T (Whitacre) and BellSouth to charge Google et al for using "their" pipes. The disease is spreading. Adrian Georgescu forwarded me a link that kKPN and DT is also thinkng about this idioticity to charge Google, MSN, Amazon(!) and Skype for using "their" pipes, see here.

Since the page is in Dutch, Adrian was so nice to translate it and I post it here in full for your late night amusement:

KPN contemplates charging for transport of Internet data

KPN looks at the possibility of having companies like Google, Yahoo and MSN pay for using its own network. A representative talks about this as "an interesting thought".

'It is logical to think about this possibility", says the KPN-representative. 'It is historically developed the idea that the consumer must pay for the network. It has been always assumed naturally that we have to build and maintaining the network others use to prosper.'

Internet companies pay today for connecting their websites to the Internet. But the transport is negotiated in closed exchanges. But KPN does not expect soon to be able to send invoices to big users because the competition between big networks is quite different.

The free transport of data is already a thorn in the eye of telecom companies. In the US, KPN colleagues as AT&T and BellSouth already made their anger public and demanded money for data traffic. Now senator Ron Wyden has a proposal to pass a bill 'to avoid the split of the Internet'. He is afraid of the splitting between fast paid services and free but slow services on the other hand. In his vision the 'Internet belongs to the end-users ' and not to the telecom companies.

The discussion is in the mean time brought to Europe. Topman Kai-Uwe Ricke of Deutsche Telekom advocated recently to force the big players to pay for the infrastructure they use. Big users like Amazon, and Skype are horrified about this plan of telecom companies. About 60 internet companies signed an open letter where they point out that 'there is a risk that the Internet is being highjacked and the communication freedom will be lost'. They call for political support 'to protect the freedom of Internet so that it remains a platform for future inovation and progress'.

Michiel Leenaars of the Dutch Internet Society calls the plans of telcos 'ridiculous'. 'This is an extra tax for transport, which in practice is unachievable. Based on this vision each packet should have a price tag attached to it, which is a typical telecom thinking'.

I can only agree with Michiel.

And I ask myself if e.g. Amazon is really "horrified"?

Imagine Amazon and Google are redirecting customers with IP addresses from KPN to a web-page stating:

Sorry, nothing personal, but we do not sell to customers connected via KPN, choose another provider.

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