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SBC CEO: Pay up if you want to use our pipes

Hemos posted more than 8 years ago | from the the-next-battle-royale dept.

Communications 613

acousticiris writes "If there were any delusions that Ma Bell Wasn't Back, SBC CEO Edward Witacre has cleared that up in an interview with Business Week Online. When asked about Google, Vonage and other Internet Upstarts he responded in typical Ma Bell Style: 'How do you think they're going to get to customers? Through a broadband pipe. Cable companies have them. We have them. Now what they would like to do is use my pipes free, but I ain't going to let them do that because we have spent this capital and we have to have a return on it. So there's going to have to be some mechanism for these people who use these pipes to pay for the portion they're using. Why should they be allowed to use my pipes?'."

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Somehow (5, Funny)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915752)

This [bash.org] doesn't seem as funny as it used to be.

Re:Somehow (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13915815)

I really don't see a problem with SBC's logic. Why should they freely facilitate their own demise?

Re:Somehow (5, Insightful)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915855)

What do you mean, their own demise? Google is one of the things that make the internet more useful and more attractive to people.

Oh, wait, you mean that a useful and attractive internet means people are going to not sign up for SBC broadband! Of course, how silly of me that I didn't see your impeccable logic for what it is immediately!

Re:Somehow (-1, Troll)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915990)

We all know that information wants to be free... apparently telecom lines want to be free too.

Its all ok because phone companies are EVIL and Google represents all that is pure. Now if SBC used Macs, we might have an issue.

Uhhhh.... (5, Insightful)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915765)

Don't they have ISP fees much like we do, whom probably pay the phone company for using their "pipes"?

Re:Uhhhh.... (5, Insightful)

BlogPope (886961) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915926)

This is the same issue L3 and Cogent had. They have the customers, someone else has the content. Their customers want access to the content, but generally don't have any content themselves, creating an unbalanced situation. In days of yore, all ISP's had a mix of content users and content providers, and they all agreed to share access at no cost. No you have providers like L3, Comcast, SBC, and Verizon who specialize in the user side of the equation, and have various mechanisms in place to dissuade content hosting.

By this very nature, they will wind up receiving far more traffic than they send. Now, these pipsqueaks (in the ISP world, they are small) are causing a fuss, wanting to get paid for all this extra traffic that is being put on their network, far more than they are putting on others networks. But what about the flip side? These ISP's are Leeches writ large, sucking other users content while providing non of their own. They charge clients $$ for access to the internet, then want to charge the internet for access to their clients.

Bad stuff is coming. This will be fought amonst the smaller Tier 1's, and it will be a bloodbath.

Empty Threat (5, Insightful)

Godeke (32895) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915769)

The comment is interesting, but an empty threat. The *customer* is paying for the pipes. The companies that the customer contacts are not using the broadband pipe except on behalf of the customer: any downstream transmitted across that pipe is paid for by the customer. As a specific example, I can pay for various downstream speeds with my cable company and DSL is ordered with a speed for upstream and downstream. That price breakdown makes it clear that the broadband payment I'm making is for both upstream and downstream, otherwise why would my upstream remain constant but my downstream increase if I throw more money at the cable company?

On the other side of the fence the "Internet Upstarts" are paying for *their* pipes as well. Even the pipes "in the middle" are indirectly paid for, although that process can sometimes breakdown (as Level3 and Cogent are proving). It isn't like there is some magic way to get access from point A to point B "for free". The costs are just bundled in your access bills. What ticks off a telecom is that the prices for packets are so darn *cheap*. It makes land line voice look expensive, which is driving the adoption of VOIP.

If they decide that paying for your pipes (both directions) doesn't give you access to the services you want, the only option is to impose filtering. If they decide to filter, block or otherwise prevent the customer from unhindered access to Internet products they will be in violation of the common carrier provisions. Which is fine if they want to then make a stab at blocking *all* bad stuff the Internet contains. However, I suspect that's not where they want to be, as without common carrier status they become liable for anything they *fail* to block.

Frankly, all this comment proves is that they are desperate for revenue and yet know they can't raise rates on telephone services (thanks to regulation) so they are flailing around for anything they can think of. Legal probably sent him a "memo" right after that comment got back to them though, as I'm pretty sure *they* understand the ramification of the implied threat.

Re:Empty Threat (2, Insightful)

El Cubano (631386) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915843)

You raise some excellent points, especially about them flailing about for revenue. All I can say is that their service sucks. That is why they lost me as a customer. If they want revenue, they should offer quality service. I mean, this is not a new concept.

Re:Empty Threat (1)

zasos (688522) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915857)

I guess the reason Google has been (rumored) to buy dark fiber is because it'll be more cost effective in a long run to own pipe rather than pay for they use...

But if there is only one (is there more?) Internet backbone, then whoever owns it is a monopoly, right?... and they'll be dealt with in a similar maner how monopolist in operating system market where dealt with...

Re:Empty Threat (5, Insightful)

Random832 (694525) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915956)

and they'll be dealt with in a similar maner how monopolist in operating system market where dealt with...

with a slap on the wrist?

Welll.... (1)

chriso11 (254041) | more than 8 years ago | (#13916034)

If Google were to provide broadband to my house for less than twice what SBC charges, then I would be on GoogleBB in a heartbeat. Screw SBC with that kind of attitude. I figure that it would take Google at least 15 years to turn as evil as SBC, so I would worry about the threat of GooglEvil then.

Re:Empty Threat (2, Insightful)

paranode (671698) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915880)

Exactly. His comment is like saying he wants a piece of online gambling profits because people are using 'his pipes' to play.

Re:Empty Threat (1)

mranchovy (595176) | more than 8 years ago | (#13916038)

His comment is like saying he wants a piece of online gambling profits because people are using 'his pipes' to play.

Or that he wants a piece of iTunes revenue because people are using 'his pipes' to download the latest Gwen Stefani video.

Asymmetric Threat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13915894)

"That price breakdown makes it clear that the broadband payment I'm making is for both upstream and downstream, otherwise why would my upstream remain constant but my downstream increase if I throw more money at the cable company?"

That's more a technological limitation than anything else. Cable is asymmetric, and so's DSL. Even old-fashion dial-up's been asymmetric since the beginning.

Re:Empty Threat (4, Interesting)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915903)

100% agreed. Google is not transmitting on XYZ's pipes on their own initiative...the customers are and they are paying for this. They are asking google to send them information - something they ask of ANY website out there. That's how the internet works.

I hope ma bell actually tries to do this "Sorry you cannot access GOogle because they will not pay us a fee"...then the customer leaves the DSL company for the cable company. Also, this guy doesn't realize that internet transmissions piggy back all the time...so someone could make the same argument against this baby bell. "Yea one of your customers wanted to access XYZ website and because of this their ip route passed through our pipes...pay up or your customers won't get access".

Re:Empty Threat (2, Insightful)

stecoop (759508) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915906)

yet know they can't raise rates on telephone services (thanks to regulation)

Hmm, if the telcos could raise rates, wouldn't that make the transition to VOIP faster? The unregulated market would allow them to "figure-out" what the real value of their service is. Raise the rates and watch customer bail; lower the rates and watch the customer bail a little slower. I say less regulation and let the companies figure out how to do their own business.

Re:Empty Threat (1)

dresgarcia (251585) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915996)

Well said, I was going to post a similar response. From what I understand of how paying for bandwidth works is that as far as the ISP is concerned it doesn't matter if Im transfer voice, video, text or whatever I want over my line its done legally. To me, this is akin to saying AOL must pay us for usage of our pipes because the extreme rise in AIM usage is causing people to use the phone less. or PEOPLE ARE PLAYING WOW OVER OUR LINES, BLIZZARD MUST PAY US FOR THIS. Unless there is some sort of competition law saying you cant use their pipes for free because you directly compete with the large phone companies (which would make some sense to me as they would be profiting because they are using a competitors lines for free) I don't see the merit in this statement.

Who is paying the bills... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13915770)

Why should they be allowed to use my pipes?

Because the customer is paying for them there pipes. Last time I checked, yip billed yesterday, I paid for my phone line, cable TV with broad band and if you want to include the cell phone, that is mildly broadband, then that too. Now Polyester Ed, if you are paying for my bills then you can say what can and can't go over the line; you want to regulate the neighbors line then you'll have to pay for that one too. I bet Google has some kind of leased line also but I doubt you can pickup their bill though; you'll have to ask them as I think they have some kind of business model or some other buzz word that will confuse you.

Now I believe Poly Ed is talking about the backbone network infrastructure that becomes a little shady. Does it make sense to pay 7 cents a minute to cross these main backbone lines? I wouldn't push a $100 billion gorilla too far; you may find that they'll replace your lines with something they own and then you'll be paying them.

so? (0, Troll)

CynicalGuy (866115) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915771)

We have them. Now what they would like to do is use my pipes free, but I ain't going to let them do that because we have spent this capital and we have to have a return on it. So there's going to have to be some mechanism for these people who use these pipes to pay for the portion they're using.

makes sense to me.. what's the problem?

Re:so? (4, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915795)

makes sense to me.. what's the problem?

Problem is that they're already paying for the use of the lines. What do you think your monthly ISP fee is doing?

Seems he now wants to be paid twice.

Re:so? (1)

arkanes (521690) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915892)

In the context of the TFA, it seems that he's saying he's not worried about VoIP competition because all of thier customers will be paying him for connectivity. It doesn't seem to be that he's worried about getting paid twice.

Re:so? (1)

spxero (782496) | more than 8 years ago | (#13916039)

He doesn't want to be paid twice- he wants to be paid by companies. He's saying that all these companies that are offering 'free' internet aren't going to get their own connection from him for free. We pay him as customers of DSL, but if another option was 'free' internet via google, we'd switch. Well, google is going to have to pay anyway- so he'll get the money one way or another

Re:so? (0, Troll)

inventor61 (919542) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915881)

Why was this modded 'troll' ?? Gee whiz, at least TRY to demonstrate SOME kind of objectivity, people. This isn't NBC or CBS News.

rephrase the debate (5, Funny)

the arbiter (696473) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915774)

Better question: Why the hell should I use SBC's pipes if they're going to be such dickheads about it?

Now I feel better.

You don't remember Ma Bell, do you? (3, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915966)

$0.25/min long distance, and if you didn't like it, you could write a letter - cause Ma Bell owned the system. Telephones? Oh, no, you couldn't buy them, they could only be leased from Ma Bell on a monthly basis.

There was a reason that Bell was broken up. It seems that everyone at the FCC was born after that decision, and only feels pity for the poor, destitute baby bells taht just can't compete as little guys. And they're so darned cute, wouldn't it be great if they were just one big company. Think of the efficency! Phone rates could be cut in half and in half again, if they just weren't made to compete with one another. *shakes head*

The whole separation of infrastructure from service is a good thing, in general, for prices (California's f*cked up electrical system notwithstanding). If you let one company control the lines and the service, all you'll get is lousy service and high prices.

This is where we're headed, and taking your business "elsewhere" won't mean much when most of the system ends op owned by one company, whether through buy-outs or mergers.

Re:rephrase the debate (2, Insightful)

lilmouse (310335) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915997)

Why the hell should I use SBC's pipes if they're going to be such dickheads about it?
Because you don't have a choice. I believe that's how monopolies work, yes?

--LWM

Ugh... reading the summary made me sick. (0)

picz plz (915164) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915779)

Am I the only one with the same sentiment? If I have to read one more sentence about pipes, I'm going to shove it up someone's anal log hole.

Why should they be allowed to use my pipes? (5, Insightful)

dsginter (104154) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915782)

Better yet, why should we continue to subsidize a dying business? First, you bitch when municpalities try to install subsidized internet for the masses, then you bitch when people try to use a monopoly connection to eliminate your services.

Stop whining and change your dying business model.

I knew that.. (5, Funny)

SillySnake (727102) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915783)

I knew that slashdot was going downhill, but why are they posting stories about CEO drug use? Who really cares who uses which pipe to smoke thier stuff in. It's all about puff puff pass people!

Re:This is not new (1)

Bastian (66383) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915861)

Darl McBride. Steve Ballmer. Steve Jobs.

Reporting on CEO drug use is not a new thing around here.

So There! (0)

HugePedlar (900427) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915784)

Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it!

Dr. Evil in da house (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13915788)

That's what I'm reminded of anyway

"Put that in your pipe and smoke it" :D

Wait a minute . . . (2, Insightful)

scarolan (644274) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915789)

Whoa, wait a minute there. The customer has *already* paid to 'use the pipes'. I pay a monthly fee for internet access - why should I or Google, or Vonage have to pay extra to use the pipe for whatever I want?

Re:Wait a minute . . . (1)

IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915865)

Do you know what a monopoly is?

I guess I'm confused (3, Interesting)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915791)

What am I supposed to be outraged about? Broadband providers have never, as far as I can recall, provided bandwidth free of charge to their customers; nor would I expect them to. What am I missing here?

Re:I guess I'm confused (5, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915852)

Broadband providers have never, as far as I can recall, provided bandwidth free of charge to their customers; nor would I expect them to. What am I missing here?

Your man here runs a phone company. His customers pay him for voice service, and also he gets paid by broadband providers for the right to run internet connections over the same line (or possibly he sells broadband himself - I don't know exactly how it's done in this particular case).

He has now noticed that some people are using the broadband connection instead of the voice service. There go his profitable long-distance and international charges! He charges a nontrivial amount per minute for a call to Tokyo, but these people are rolling it all into their modest monthly broadband fee! Aargh!

The words 'buggy whip manufacturer' spring immediately to mind.

Read it again (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13915876)

He wants to charge web site owners a fee to connect with users; at least that's the implication.

In other words, you pay for your connection to the ISP, but he wants google to pay for the right for their bits to traverse across his backbone to get to you.

Re:Read it again (2, Insightful)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915921)

He wants to charge web site owners a fee to connect with users; at least that's the implication.

Hmmm. I guess I missed that implication. I agree that that is idiotic; I as a customer have specificly paid for the ability for google to send me bits. Ergo, the pipe is already paid for. If he doesn't feel that the ISP rates are sufficient to cover his costs, he should feel free to raise his rates and get eaten alive in the market.

Don't the customers pay? (1)

RT Alec (608475) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915794)

Don't the people (businesses) who pay for a T1, DSL, fiber-to-the-curb, etc. already pay? Why should SBC be paid twice... is that what he is implying?

Re:Don't the customers pay? (1)

Mars Ultor (322458) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915944)

Yes. He wishes for both parties in the communication to pay for the use of the pipes. There was a 50%-off sale on net access since the first ISP was created. They're ending the sale real soon.

And that tingling in your brain is just your logical reasoning centre exploding. Pay no attention.

Re:Don't the customers pay? (1)

phaggood (690955) | more than 8 years ago | (#13916035)

When asked about Google, Vonage and other Internet Upstarts he responded in typical Ma Bell Style: 'How do you think they're going to get to customers?

Through municipally-supplied wifi fed from previously dark, non SBC fiber, you pompous bastard.

Because they are in part, public property... (5, Interesting)

sycodon (149926) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915797)

You installed these pipes while you were part of a regulated monopoly, using public right of ways.

Re:Because they are in part, public property... (2, Insightful)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915832)

The institutional amnesia is very convenient.

Look for a delightful lesson in political theater and twisted rhetoric to come.

Re:Because they are in part, public property... (5, Insightful)

Beatbyte (163694) | more than 8 years ago | (#13916003)

Exactly.

Next thing you know, some county somewhere is going to charge Amtrak for driving through without paying.

How about this... We give anyone who wants to be an upstart the same access to putting fiber in the ground as SBC and see if they like that.

rant: Eliminating any monopoly in the United States of America has been impossible for some time now (see: campaign contributions). Personally, I think the telecommunications industry is one of the first that needs to be seized and freed back up.

Back... but too late (3, Insightful)

eSims (723865) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915799)

Ma Bell is back, but it's too late...

This isn't 1905 and as long as I have a few choices Ma Bell won't be one of them. I've got cable... if they blow it I can go satellite, Power, Fiber, and worst case scenario I'll become an activist to set up a community Coop ISP.

Ma Bell is to late in coming back to the game!

No she's not (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915902)

She is going to come in, claim to fix all those nasty problems with the internet, and get money to do so.

People will pay to have a 'cleaner','smarter' internet, and she will have a contract that basically lets her control anything comeing into or out of the computer.

These people are really good at this game. They will stand in front of congress and lie, they will cheat, they increase there rates and call it a tax so people will think it's cause of the government.

SHe's a bitch, she is smart, and she has no morals. Don't turn your back on ma bell, she'll put a shiv in it.

Re:Back... but too late (2, Interesting)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 8 years ago | (#13916041)

worst case scenario I'll become an activist to set up a community Coop ISP.

and lease the lines from.. Ma Bell? This is the joke of so-called competition. The lines belong to Ma Bell (at public expense), so you're just dealing with the same crap, different face.

Cable companies are no picnic either. Many offer their own VOIP products and use QoS on their routers to make sure that their packets get priority routing over Vonage and other 3rd party providers. What kind of competition can you have when they're well within their rights to route traffic on their networks as they see fit and will use that to stifle competition?

Now you know... (5, Interesting)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915803)

... why google has been buying tons of dark fiber in the past couple of years.

One of these days, this jerk^W typical CEO will realize -- too late -- that he has painted his company in a corner with that type of statement. By then, it will be too late to save SBC, but not too late to grant himself a huge, last-minute bonus.

Re:Now you know... (1, Insightful)

psykocrime (61037) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915864)

.. why google has been buying tons of dark fiber in the past couple of years.

Heh, I thought the exact same thing when I saw this. The guys at google aren't stupid, ya know...

Re:Now you know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13916044)

With attitudes like this from sbc, let's hope not!

Free? (2, Insightful)

Boss, Pointy Haired (537010) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915805)

Unless i'm on the wrong tariff, there's nothing "FREE" about the £19.99 I throw at my cable provider each month.

What is he trying to say? (1)

Vengeance (46019) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915807)

That up until last week his organization was stupid enough to GIVE away capacity?

Nothing to see here, move along.

Americans, welcome to the dark ages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13915811)

Just another sign that the US is about to be left behind.

These companies will simply offshore their hosting, leaving the US with nothing except the laughter of the rest of the world.

Cost vs. Value (1)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915816)

Most of the cost is in the fiber, copper & network boxen . Most of the value is in the content and services. Until someone figures out an equitable way for the services (Google et al) to pay for the costs (SBC et al), these types of disputes will continue.

Re:Cost vs. Value (1)

Secrity (742221) | more than 8 years ago | (#13916056)

The customer (end user in this case) is paying for the fiber, copper & network boxen in the form of a monthly telephone bill. The telco has no claim whatsover on the CONTENT.

Maybe it's time for the U.S. government to buy the (1)

smagruder (207953) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915820)

"pipes" and declare them equal to the public's airwaves. I'm thoroughly sick and tired of these monopolistic antics.

Why such surprise? (0, Troll)

inventor61 (919542) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915825)

And, moreover, why such an outcry? The fact that collecting revenue on the use of somebody else's capital hasn't been the case, is the anomaly. Bandwidth, despite what you've been led to believe, isn't free. The RBOCs and others just LET it be free (as in beer...) to see what kinds of applications, and therefore business models, would pop up. Since we have an answer to that now, it's time for fee-based sensibilities to return to the market. maybe, if we're lucky, the new AT&T will buy Bell Labs back from Lucent, and start funding it the way it used to be. It's the best thing that could ever happen, IMHO.

Re:Why such surprise? (1)

KingEomer (795285) | more than 8 years ago | (#13916049)

Of course bandwidth isn't free. We are paying for our internet connection. But, how is using it for VOIP any different than using it for reading /.? Basically it all comes down to SBC wanting to be paid twice.

I just now heard about this. (1)

OpenGLFan (56206) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915835)

I just now heard about this.

Is it too late to block this merger?

They want someone to pay for them... BUT WE ARE!!! (1)

licamell (778753) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915836)

They are claiming the VoIP companies aren't paying to use their pipes, but isn't it the case, like any other internet traffic, we are paying for those pipes. Our ISP is paying for them if we aren't using them directly. It is just another service that we, the users, can use our internet for, and they shouldn't expect to be getting money on both ends.

stupid (1)

crottsma (859162) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915838)

Haha. Reminds me of a Futurama episode where Farnsworth tells Fry "Yes, that comment was less stupid than your prior one, although made in a profoundly stupid way." SBC has an absolute right to charge for use of it's equipment, but to make a statement in such a patronizing and stupid manner indicates problems down the road for SBC.

"We've Spent Capital On This" (3, Insightful)

kah13 (318205) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915842)

  • The investment on the local loops was largely made under the Bell days, and is depreciated
  • The capital on the DSLAMs was invested long enough ago that it should be depreciated (and some of it wasn't invested by SBC in any real form)
  • The fiber interconnects have been available at rock-bottom prices due to overbuilding

I appreciate that I've been getting all this broadband for free all this time. Oh, wait, I pay a monthly fee for that. Hmm, perhaps I can pay that fee to someone else who won't be so restrictive? Where is that number for Speakeasy...

The gentleman seems to have an odd understanding of how this all works. Google pays him to get to me, and I pay him to get to Google. The second that changes, I'll pay someone else who doesn't feel that it's a privledge to get my business.

Re:"We've Spent Capital On This" (1)

Gumber (17306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915923)

Speakeasy is going to be paying higher and higher fees for access to the local loop because of recent FCC rulings.

Lay some pipe (1)

Wedge1212 (591767) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915847)

He likes to use the word pipe. I think he's trying to compensate for something else. Next article... SBC CEO sexually frustrated!

Consumers paid for access, not "pipes" (5, Insightful)

MDMurphy (208495) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915851)

What a moron.
What the hell does he mean by people using his "pipes" for free? I pay every month for my access. And I'm not paying for wires strung to my house, I'm paying for bandwidth, for the ability to get packets in and out of my router. Nothing free here, I paid for it.

Yes, there's someone on the other end making money on this and the greedy bastard thinks he should get "his share". Does he want that to apply to every transaction?

I called and ordered a pizza for delivery last night. Do they get a cut?
I checked my bank balance and paid a couple bills this weekend. Do they get a transaction fee?
I do work from home some days. Do I need to give them a portion of my pay when I do that?

All excellant suggestions, Thanks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13915914)

Naturally SBC would be very happy to discuss these new business development ideas with you!

Re:Consumers paid for access, not "pipes" (1)

drkstrm (921693) | more than 8 years ago | (#13916023)

Yes, there's someone on the other end making money on this and the greedy bastard thinks he should get "his share". Does he want that to apply to every transaction?

I called and ordered a pizza for delivery last night. Do they get a cut?
I checked my bank balance and paid a couple bills this weekend. Do they get a transaction fee?
I do work from home some days. Do I need to give them a portion of my pay when I do that?

I think that he's pissed because on VOIP their only collecting your money from ISP revenue and not the other party like in a traditional POTS setup where you and the other party (local pizza, bank, etc)pay them for phone service.

Re:Consumers paid for access, not "pipes" (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#13916042)

What the hell does he mean by people using his "pipes" for free? I pay every month for my access. And I'm not paying for wires strung to my house, I'm paying for bandwidth, for the ability to get packets in and out of my router. Nothing free here, I paid for it.

Ahh, but see, you're confused (along with the rest of the majority of geekish users) as to what it means to pay to use "your/their" bandwidth.

Just remember their ToS and that little clause that allows them to change it at any time for any reason. It also talks about not using their lines for stuff *they* deem inappropriate. That could (and likely will) include VoIP service.

You have a couple of choices. You could drop their service (and possibly pay early termination fees if you are on a special deal), you could ignore them completely and move to another provider (that might also have the same restrictions), or you could suffer.

90% of users will suffer. Just like the 92% of users that use Comcast in the face of them dropping you for unknown bandwidth usage limits. The small percentage of users that the ISP will lose is the group they want to drop anyway.

Hasn't anyone learned from previous failures? (3, Informative)

url80 (927250) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915863)

Hasn't anyone learned from the failures of the CIX effort in the early nineties?

I mean.. let's get real.

Best, url the bounty network [bountynetwork.com]

Re:Hasn't anyone learned from previous failures? (1)

url80 (927250) | more than 8 years ago | (#13916016)

That link didn't work right:

CIX Problems [ftc.gov]

Best,
url
the bounty network.com [bountynetwork.com]

Wireless (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915868)

Isn't there a british company lauching a satellite next year that will give nearly everyone in the world access to wireless broadband? Or are they talking about the internet backbones?

This is why Google is dabbling in Wireless (4, Interesting)

Gumber (17306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915878)

This sort of mindset is exactly why Google is dabbling in setting up WiFi networks and why Microsoft has been investing in community mesh networks. They need a credible alternative to DSL & Cabel internet access, or the providers of last mile connectivity will start looking for a share of revenue of everyone who delivers services over IP for access to "their customers" That's right, they want to charge you for the pipe on one end, and turn around and charge the people you are connecting to, on a per transaction basis, if at all possible.

Don't think they aren't determined to find a way to do it.

What's needed is enough competition to make it impossible for them, and that is going to take more than a choice between the cable company and the phone company, even better if some of that competition has ways of turning a profit beyond simply gouging for connectivity.

Umm.. Because if my stuff don't work... (2, Insightful)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915886)

... I will leave you and go to a provider where my stuff _will_ work?

This stupidity will die when the board of directors of the first company that tries this fires the CEO for the inevitable backlash.

How much scarier if the government blocked these services to protect their phone monopoly money? Thank goodness the US telecom market is mostly private...

Is this a joke? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13915887)

I already pay to connect to the internet.
When I drive to a restaurant are they going to pay because
I use a road to get there? No, I pay my taxes to use the road.
Some thing.

Eloquent speaker, isn't he? (2, Funny)

operagost (62405) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915888)

Are they putting slack-jawed yokels in charge of SBC now?
Now what they would like to do is use my pipes [for] free, but I ain't [sic] going to let them do that because we have spent this capital and we have to have a return on it.
*rolls eyes*

It's about VOIP (5, Insightful)

quentin_quayle (868719) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915896)

In context, he is talking about VOIP.

In effect, SBC is providing the means by which VOIP providers are competing with SBC's phone line business. That's what bother him.

But he has to understand, if SBC is going to offer generic internet service, they have to tolerate customers using it for whatever they want. What Whitacre and his ilk would like is to regulate what customers can do with the service. This would start with shutting out competition and progress to charging for each protocol, port, destination, etc..

We have to preserve the common carrier principle in internet access.

Re:It's about VOIP (1)

Kevinv (21462) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915947)

No, this is SBC. They mean everything, not just VOIP.

Re:It's about VOIP (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915953)

I wonder if it might also have something to do with more companies using P2P to cut down on server costs. It is very often a means of cost-shifting, reducing server costs by using the user's upstream bandwidth.

Re:It's about VOIP (4, Interesting)

Control Group (105494) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915954)

He may think he'd like that, but he's wrong.

If he starts regulating the content of data on his wires, he loses common carrier status. Now he becomes liable for every snuff/rape/bestiality site that crosses his wires in the US. He's liable for every pipe bomb HOWTO, every warez download, every mp3 stream, every alt.bin.illegal.stuff post, every pedophile in an IRC channel, et cetera, et cetera.

At that point, SBC either goes out of business or spends truly profligate amounts of money - even in comparison to current business spending on Capitol Hill - to try and get common carrier redefined.

Don't customers already pay? (1)

ewg (158266) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915919)

He wants to charge both parties using his network? SBC subscribers already pay for bandwidth, now he wants to charge the sites paying SBC subscribers connect to? Bizarre.

The Pipes are already paid for... (4, Insightful)

fallen1 (230220) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915924)

since the American people subsidized them through TAXES and SURCHARGES WE FUCKING PAID. How about we, The People, take back the part of those pipes WE paid for and then you, "the corporations"*, can pay The People for using OUR pipes that you're making money off of. That way we, The People, can choose who WE want to be in control of the pipes. Just so long as Google stamps out an iron-clad privacy policy where they don't frigging data mine everything on the pipes I'd give all my pipes to them in exchange for fast access (something along the lines of 10mb/10mb would be nice) and the ability to host my own servers.

*Please note that corporations are lower-case and should be treated as such. They should not hold the same status legally as The People (we're mentioned in the Constitution, not them). Period. I'm all for the "American Dream" but not at the total expense of We, The People.

Rasied in barn? (2, Insightful)

BawbBitchen (456931) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915925)

Let me get this right. The CEO of a very powerfull company said "but I ain't going", where the correct way would be "but I am not going"? Damn, CEO and still cannot speak proper English. Pretty scary.

Where are the good old days... (1)

Browzer (17971) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915929)

when the Internet was not available to the general public and was not in the hands of profit-oriented business bastards.

Coming soon.... (4, Insightful)

JWW (79176) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915939)

Wow after comments like these I can almost feel the next article coming on about how far the US is lagging behind the rest of the world on broadband.

"MaBell" and paying (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915945)

Before, the Bell System enjoyed a monopoly, a subsidized monopoly, in the US. It was then broken up.
90 percent of what ANY Bell spin-off is beholden to that monopoly. WE, the US consumers paid for 90 percent of their copper. ANY profits made since then, if paid back to the US consumer, would NOT BE ENOUGH to reimburse us for what we endured.. This fool thinks anyone owes his present corporation anything? He needs to pull his head out of his ass, he needs fresh air. Yeah bubba, I am talking to YOU.
Maybe it is time to call in past "favors". WE PAID FOR MOST OF IT. Figure it out. You are here MERELY due to our past support, albiet unwilling(see monopoly is any dictionary).

What Brewster Kahle (internet archive founder) say (2, Interesting)

OlivierB (709839) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915948)

This has been quite intelligently commented on NerdTV Ep4 Juicy bits [pbs.org] .
He mentions AOL initial business model to have content providers pay AOL rather than AOL paying the providers and how they totally missed the opportunity to rule the internet.
Not a totally stupid idea...

In Other News... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13915950)

In other news, SBC CEO Edward Witacre has been quoted as saying
"Look, I can't have everyone using these pipes for free. Who is going to clean these pipes? I mean, I clean my own pipes every night before bed, and that takes 15 minutes. But these pipes are going to be used by everyone. I'm not touching that mess with a 10 foot pole."

The world will laugh at him (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915959)

It's just like the CxO of (I forget which telco) who said basically, "Why in the world would you expect your cellphone to work in your house?"

He's essentially clueless. Google, Yahoo et al. already do pay for the 'pipes'. They pay someone (or probably multiple someones) for their upstream bandwidth, who in turn will be paying their upstream, or in the case that they are tier-1, will own and will have paid for the infrastructure anyway. No one is getting to use the 'pipes' for free. The guy just doesn't have a clue, that's all.

Those pipes ain't 100% under his control (1)

Serveert (102805) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915961)

The govt granted him and a few others regional monopolies to provide that last end of cable to customers. If anyone were allowed to do the same, the free market would dictate a mess of cables as far as the eye can see, ala Hong Kong or Taiwan. Given that, he better play nice because the govt, which, as we may recall, represents tax payers, can easily revoke that priviledge. Hell, what's to stop us from nationalizing that last mile? He should be a little more courteous.

What was his previous job ? (4, Insightful)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915965)

By any chance: did Edward Whitacre work in the music industry ?

Pretty much sounds like it: trying to defend a business with an out of date business model by attempting to 'regulate' rather than trying to compete and give their customers what they want.

It may take a few years but unless he changes business tactics his company will slowly die, just as the dinosaurs did when conditions changed and they did not adapt fast enough.

Look here beeeyatch... (1)

Sfing_ter (99478) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915967)

Those are not YOUR pipes, you were subsidized by tax dollars to "lay" those pipes, they belong to the public, that is why you have "share" with the other children. Go back to Fuckstickia with your Fuckstickian ways.

Self-righteous & Glutinous (1)

$nyper (83319) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915976)

Why that Self-righteous glutinous SOB!!!! Those pipes have been paid for 100x over by now. SBC is just trying to save their old busniess model. Now, I'm not saying that they don't have a right to try and protect their buiness but I think they could come up with a better way of putting other than, "It's my ball and if you don't play my way I'm going home and taking my ball with me." I really think the all of the coporations in America are run by those same whiners from when were kids. So I think its time to insert Congress to take their ball and kick them to the curb.

Feel the Force (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915980)

Whitacre is Darth Vader; AT&T is his Death Star. Google, Yahoo and the rest of the Web aren't "freeloaders" - they're paying big bucks for lots of bandwidth. Whitacre might be pissed off that competition his SBC from monopolizing their bandwidth rates, though he's free to score them on SBC's turf, which includes California and Texas. But those big web corporations generate demand for his bandwidth. As do all Internet applications. Whitacre won't admit that, because he's a big toughguy who can't admit he depends on software services he doesn't own to grow his market. Next he'll complain that Hollywood gets a free ride on his network, and should pay him to pump their content, rather than his TV network paying them. Even though they already do pay him for all their telecom - that SBC offers competitively.

Yeah pipe (1)

platypus (18156) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915982)

Dear Pipe Dude,

please try to go to google an other big content providers and tell them
that they have to pay you.
Watch what happens if they just stop providing content to your customers for a while,
just to make a point.

Oh, and btw. only in Soviet Russia, the content provider PAYS YOU!!!!

The next question is just as worrisome. (5, Insightful)

Irvu (248207) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915985)

What's your approach to regulation? Explain, for example, the difference between you and Verizon in how you are approaching regulatory approval for Telco TV [digital-TV service offered by telecoms].

The cable companies have an agreement with the cities: They pay a percentage of their revenue for a franchise right to broadcast TV. We have a franchise in every city we operate in based on providing telephone service.

Now, all of a sudden, without any additional payment, the cable companies are putting telephone communication down their pipes and we're putting TV signals. If you want us to get a franchise agreement for TV, then let's make the cable companies get a franchise for telephony.

If cable can put telephone down their existing franchise I should be able to put TV down my franchise. It's kind of a "what's fair is fair" deal. I think it's just common sense.


Clearly this is a man who is comfortable with the idea of monopolies being granted to him (and not his competitors) and uncomfortable (even angry) about anyone figuring out how to compete with him. My read on this is that, given a choice between innovation and staying in a monopoly world where he is king he'll choose the latter.

Welcome Back Ma Bell, we haven't missed you!

Hi.. this is RST video.. (1)

bmajik (96670) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915988)

I'd like one each of the following tapes..

"To each his own"
"Whispers in the wind"
"Put it where it doesn't belong"
"My pipes need cleaning" ...

Randall for CEO! Woooo!

Throwing customers out the door (1)

snowwrestler (896305) | more than 8 years ago | (#13916005)

I can't think of any better way to drive away business.

Business customers will wonder whether their upstream bandwidth will be held hostage by SBC if they become too successful.

Consumer customers will wonder if their access to online services will be disrupted by an upstream b2b rate dispute.

Lawyers salivate at either prospect.

and... (1)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 8 years ago | (#13916010)

You can imagine the CEO chewing on a toothpick, feet up on his desk, while saying this...

Software downloads (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 8 years ago | (#13916027)

So whats the difference between Apple/Itunes and Vonage here? This makes as much sense as them requiring software companies to pay them money because the customers downloads software through the lines.

CEO's Confusion (1)

trurl7 (663880) | more than 8 years ago | (#13916058)

While the CEO is a clueless, inarticulate jackass (or at least tries to come across as a good ol' boy), the distinction he is trying to make may be the following: Ma Bell provides Internet connectivity to customers and also provides phone services (it's traditional market). Now, the CEO mentiones Google, but also Vonage, which, if I am not mistaken, is a VoIP service. They charge money for a service competing with one of Ma Bell's markets. That's probably what's sticking in the guy's craw. Google's services don't directly compete with Ma Bell (most of their stuff like search, gmail, maps, scholar, etc. is free) and they don't do VoIP (yet). So, Google was probably mentioned just for name recognition.

I think the mention of Vonage is the big hint as to what's got that bunch of monopolistic losers riled up - by providing things like VoIP, alternatives to what Ma Bell wants to monopolize (i.e. providing competition, innovation, all those great supposed benefits of the Free Market (tm)), those other nasty companies are clearly threatening to destroy the American Way of Life (tm) by taking away Ma Bells' ability to bleed customers white with impunity. Clearly, those companies should be made to pay through the nose for their temerity. ``Legislate, not Innovate'' - the age-old corporate motto. :-)
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