Net Neutrality: The debate continues
The "Net Neutrality" issue -- whether or not companies like Google and Yahoo should have to pay the big telecom carriers to ensure that their services are delivered in a timely fashion to consumers -- continued to dominate chatter at Brainstorm.
Stephanie Mehta already has posted about how a conversation on Thursday about the cell phone revolution turned into a debate about Net Neutrality. Christopher Sacca of Google said he feared what would happen if "the people who own the networks can make choices on what customers can or can't see" and added that even though Google does not always see eye-to-eye with its online rivals, Net Neutrality is something that Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, eBay, Amazon and IAC (which owns Ask.com and many other online properties) all agree on.
But former Motorola CEO Christopher Galvin, who at first said he was unaware of the term Net Neutrality (a confession that was met with some snickers in the audience), argued that network providers should get paid back for their investments in broadband infrastructure.
This debate spilled over to Friday morning's breakfast panel discussion about where VCs were putting their money. Morgan Stanley Internet analyst Mary Meeker sided with the Internet giants, a stance that did not please the woman sitting next to her, Citizens Communications CEO Maggie Wilderotter.
Citizens, one of the nation's largest telecom carriers focusing on rural markets, obviously has a stake in how the Net Neutrality debate pans out. Wilderotter conceded that AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre is probably taking too antagonistic a stance against companies like Google. But she, like Galvin, said that phone companies have every right to "monetize their networks."
Stay tuned to see how this all pans out. But based on the conversations at Brainstorm, expect this to be a highly contentious battle between Internet behemoths and the telecom titans for months to come.
Net neutrality should not be a debate. The title is a misnomer. The telecom carriers have already slanted the internet in their own favor. Early internet was designed to be a fair 2 way street. New technologies have been favored that allow for consumers to have greater download speeds but not upload speeds. What this means is that small businesses and individual consumers are being shunned from putting up their own web sites on their own computers. Additionally the whole notion that there isn't enough space on the current internet backbone points out the ridiculous problem that our great country isn't building big enough pipelines for the future of the internet.
Posted By Add a Comment: 11:22 AM |
To Mr. Galvin: the network providers have been paid back and are now asking for more to deliver on their promise. They dangled the "broadband in every home" carrot in front of congress in return for being allowed to raise rates on the independent ISPs who use those networks. But to get a sense of how much they were already profiting, look at how low they've now taken those rates. I remember going to a "carrier" in the mid 90s for broadband and they didn't want to provision my home. It wasn't profitable enough for them, YET. Instead, I had to go to an independent provider who used that network. Now the network providers are asking for more to make good on their promise. Congress is being led around by the nose.
Posted By Add a Comment: 9:22 PM |
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