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Telecoms Come Forward With "Tiered" Web Strategy

As we've heard before, the major U.S. phone companies want to set up toll booths on the information superhighway, charging Web publishers for the right to have their content delivered at high speeds. Naturally there is intense opposition to this, both from consuemr activist groups and Web companies themselves. Vinton Cerf, Google's chief Internet evangelist, who was a marquee player in the development of the Internet, warned a Senate committee that "allowing broadband carriers to control what people see and do online would fundamentally undermine the principles that have made the Internet such a success." The major phone companies want the right to provide a "tiered service," which would guarantee the speedy delivery of various packets to their final destination for a price. Without the premium, consumers playing video on the Web could experience slowdowns, or someone using Internet phone service could be hit with frequent half-second delays--all of which would be unacceptable to advertisers. In the end, telecoms have to do something, because improving service means spending more to expand capacity, which they say consumers will have to pay for in one way or another. U.S . carriers say they won't go so far as to block access to competitors' sites as some have feared, but they will call on consumers or Internet companies to make up for the cost of upping network speeds. If that's so, then, as one activist pointed out, "The next great idea, the next Google or eBay or Napster or whatever, won't have the capital to get themselves in the fast lanes right away." He points out that the reason Google and Yahoo were able to rise is the level playing field the Internet provides, which would effectively be altered if the telecoms have their way




Read the whole story at Associated Press »

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