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BellSouth Will Charge Providers For Performance

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the so-much-for-a-fair-internet dept.

The Internet 594

smooth wombat writes "In a follow-up to this Slashdot story from last month, BellSouth has confirmed that it is in discussions with content providers to levy charges to reliably and speedily deliver content and services of the providers. Bill Smith, chief technology officer at BellSouth justified content charging companies by saying they are using the telco's network without paying for it. "

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594 comments

There goes (5, Insightful)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490522)

Common carrier status.

Re:There goes (4, Interesting)

altoz (653655) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490551)

Yep, separate the moronic ISPs who'll be out of business in 5 years and the innovative cost-effective ones that'll be in business for a while.

Re:There goes (5, Interesting)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490600)

So does this mean a small website could sue for extortion or sabotage if the network performance is poor? With this liability and the potential loss of common carrier status for the "paid off" pages, I would think the company lawyers would be nervous. But then again, it seems no company is looking ahead to potential liability anymore.

Re:There goes (5, Informative)

ipfwadm (12995) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490745)

They didn't have common carrier status to begin with. Remember this [slashdot.org]? The Wikipedia article on common carrier [wikipedia.org] also says that ISPs are not generally considered common carriers, and do not wish to be so. Unfortunately, it's a bit thin on the details aside from saying that common carrier status carries "obligations they would rather avoid".

Re:There goes (4, Informative)

metternich (888601) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490751)

Why do people keep on insisting that ISPs are Common Carriers when they aren't?

See the damn Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org]:
The key FCC Order on this point is: IN RE FEDERAL-STATE JOINT BOARD ON UNIVERSAL SERVICE, 13 FCC Rcd. 11501 (1998), which holds that ISP service (both "retail" and backbone) is an "information service" (not subject to common carrier obligations) rather than a "telecommunications service" (which might be classified as "common carriage").

Your ISP customers paid you, numbnuts... (4, Insightful)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490528)

Oh, I guess you want to have your cake, AND eat it too?

Re:Your ISP customers paid you, numbnuts... (5, Insightful)

Spamalope (91802) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490606)

I want my cake. BellSouth is benefiting from the services it's subscribers are accessing over the network. BellSouth uses this access to sell monthly network access subscriptions to my (and everyone else's) content. BellSouth is selling my content. Pay up bitch.

Re:Your ISP customers paid you, numbnuts... (3, Interesting)

Sigl (691196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490665)

I don't think they want to get paid twice. I think they want the aggregate influence of their subscribers to use as leverage against other companies. That's more flexible than money. If this is allowed it only moves the decision of what you want to use your internet connection for from the consumer to the communications company. Any idea why anyone would want this except ISPs?

Re:Your ISP customers paid you, numbnuts... (3, Funny)

iCEBaLM (34905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490670)

This euphemism is a big misconception. Anybody can have their cake and then eat it, the real trick is to eat your cake and then have it.

Re:Your ISP customers paid you, numbnuts... (1)

ChadL (880878) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490710)

They just get money from customers, it is not their job to give them anything in return... Remember, the customer is always wrong, and if it gets them more money, then it must be right... :-P Unless I have that mixed up and BellSouth is putting thoughts in my head...

aren't peering agreements already negotiated? (2, Interesting)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490775)

Isn't BellSouth also an ISP? I guess they just cut their throats in that business.

They aren't USING anything! (5, Insightful)

XMilkProject (935232) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490530)

The companies aren't pushing any data across your networks, they aren't the ones using it. Quite on the contrary, your subscribers are the ones pulling data across your network from the various sources, and I'd wager a bet that you are already charging them a fat monthly fee.

Bell greed won't go away (4, Insightful)

scoove (71173) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490614)

The companies aren't pushing any data across your networks, they aren't the ones using it.

Exactly. It's amazing this "eyeballs vs. content" battle still hasn't gone away, especially after several notable disasters where the eyeball owners (service providers to consumers) tried to exact a toll for the content their subscribers were consuming.

I was at the Commercial Internet Exchange annual meeting in 1996 when this issue popped up there. Many theorized then that the Bells, who had lost out on their NSFNET NAP scheme (which Al Gore was a strong proponent of), would find another way to get a measured use model into the net. It's apparent they still dream of ratcheting measured use costs, since they happen to be rather good at billing complicated use schemes. Still, it's amazing to wonder how they think they can carry this out. What would they do - require a fee per domain name to be consumed by a household (and enforce it how? That's one heck of an ACL - as if RBOC DSL service isn't sluggish enough already - Qwest can't get you down the street from home to serving wire center under 40-45 ms typically).

Or would you block it on an AS basis and pick up the whole bilaterial battle that saw Exodus and BBN (if my history is correct) fight? Unfortunately for the RBOCs, there are alternatives to their mediocre DSL. If you think a consumer will pay $55 for partial Internet when they can get complete service from the cable or wireless provider for the same fee, they're gone.

Re:Bell greed won't go away (5, Interesting)

BrynM (217883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490730)

What would they do - require a fee per domain name to be consumed by a household (and enforce it how? That's one heck of an ACL - as if RBOC DSL service isn't sluggish enough already - Qwest can't get you down the street from home to serving wire center under 40-45 ms typically).
The scheme would probably work like this:
  1. Cap all traffic from everywhere at a certain rate or usage limit
  2. Charge either provider or subscriber for a higher bandwidth cap on a site. A subscriber could have a list of sites they would like as "premium" - maybe even submit a bookmark list on a micropayment per address scheme. The provider would of course pay for their sites or even individual files to be "premium".
  3. (obscene) Profit!!!
Think of it as a modified cable business model.

Re:They aren't USING anything! (4, Insightful)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490634)

FTA: "It's the shipping business of the digital age," Smith said, arguing that consumers should welcome the pay-for-delivery concept.
I am not sure that this is an apt analogy. I am not sure what a good analogy would be. To use the shipping analogy from the article however, wouldn't it be like a shippee paying UPS or FEDEx a monthly fee for unlimited deliveries, and then having UPS or FEDEx ask the shipper to pay part of the cost?
In the artcile they say that they may ask apple for a nicklle or dime per song downloaded. I pay my cable internet provider $60 a month for access- now they want content providers to pay too? This is ridiculous. What do they think they are, the government? (the gov't charges you tax on gas for roads, and other road taxes, yet you still must pay tolls at times...)

Re:They aren't USING anything! (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490743)

Well many toll roads are privatly funded and the private funds expect the tolls to pay back the cost. But yes, there are pure government toll roads, their excuse is that these roads wouldn't have been built otherwise.. Anyways back to your original point. Obviously customers would leave in droves if BellSouth slowed down access to non-paying sites. Either you will see significantly speed up special sites (streaming video etc) Or you will see a huge drop in the monthly bill. Personally it would have to be somewhere close to free for me to stay.

Re:They aren't USING anything! (1)

Honig the Apothecary (515163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490640)

As a Bellsouth telephone subscriber, fuck yea they charge a fat monthly fee. That said, I'll never use them again, if I can help it. Most places around here, it cannot be helped. Either you have to use them for phone service and/or there are no other options for high speed internet in a home. If you are smaller than x number of phone lines, you have to hang dollars bills around your neck to get a CLEC to talk to you.

I don't see this idea surving a legal challenge. Bellsouth could become GooglePhone if they are not careful.

Re:They aren't USING anything! (2, Informative)

BrynM (217883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490649)

Quite on the contrary, your subscribers are the ones pulling data across your network
They are talking about the space in the middle. These are the backbone providers. Try doing a tracert to somewhere far. If you're in the US try bbc.co.uk or vise-versa. These folks are talking about all of those "hops" your data makes getting from say the slashdot server to OSDN to backbone provider to your isp then to you. It's not a single connection downloading a file, it's hundreds of parts taking many paths that get put together on your end. Here's more basic info [wikipedia.org] on how that works.

Re:They aren't USING anything! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14490701)

oh yes they are paying for that...

i am paying for a connection, my provider pays to be connected, to provide me with service.

so yes, it all comes back to their customers are paying for that connection in order to make connections further up the line.

Re:They aren't USING anything! (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490652)

You make it sound like it matters. We live in a corporatocracy.

Rule #1: If you are a big corporation, you are entitled to every penny you can get your hands on.

Bush bitches about "double taxation" on the estate tax, so shouldn't we get some relief from double paying?

Wow..change in the world (4, Interesting)

MasterOfUniverse (812371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490534)

I know it sounds cheesy, but this is a big moment in the history. If we do not stop this, internet will be changed completely as we know it today. I hope people are outraged and something is done to stop this! Unfortunately, the media in US is completely ignorant of the importance of this thing...

Re:Wow..change in the world (1)

lbrandy (923907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490569)

The only way this will be stopped is by the big content providers refusing to pay and thereby cutting off the subscribers from these providers. The only way to generate sufficient public interest is if, suddenly, the Bellsouth customers were no longer able to access, say, google. Short of that, good luck.

Re:Wow..change in the world (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490578)

So fing what, hopefully most if not all content providers will say F you to bellsouth, and users with half a brain will leave as most people have a choice in broadband access (atleast people who can get DSL can generally get cable). The market will decide this one, no reason to get all ruffled up about it. And if a few content providers want to partner up with bellsouth to offer special very high speed services, all the better for them, its not like this isn't already happening with cable and cellphones.

Re:Wow..change in the world (2, Funny)

timeOday (582209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490584)

I agree. The Internet is so good, it's almost hard to see how it could have come about in our business culture. We need to draw a line and make a fuss about crap like this or the goodness will slip away.

CorpGovMedia OWNS America (0)

Cryofan (194126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490687)

and they own YOU, too. BellSouth is part of CorpGovMedia. The media will do little about this.

Re:Wow..change in the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14490708)

This is just more of the same thing... Companies trying to get larger and larger profits out of consumers. They're just trying to hide it in more creative ways. They realise there is far more money to be made by charging for usage than charging for access.

Phone/Transit companies want to go from flat-fee pricing to per MB pricing. That gives media/content companies more justification to change their pricing. Media/content companies want to charge every time you view/listen to their content. A $30 DVD seems expensive so they'll start selling $5 NGDVDs but charge $1 every time you watch it. To most consumers it looks cheaper. This works even better for online content. Stop people owning a copy and require them to stream it every time they use it.

Um, you new here? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490744)

Its not like the 'big change' hasn't happened before.

Some of us remember the good old days days, before it was commercialized in the first place. That day was the beginning of the end.

Hurn in Bell (2, Informative)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490537)

Bell South have just Proven themselves to be a total bunch of useless bas[TT]ards .
If we pay for an Internet connection , then it us using their lines to connect to someone .. what next charging someone for receiving a phone call .
Hurn in Bell I say

Re:Hurn in Bell (1)

mopslik (688435) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490564)

what next charging someone for receiving a phone call

You mean like the (North American) cell phone networks?

Great!! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14490540)

So we will get their service for free now? Or maybe they'll even pay us to use them?.. :P

Wow (1)

Concern (819622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490553)

It's been fun, guys, but it looks like the net finally actually is dead.

I mean, seriously, the service providers are about to start openly extorting the content providers.

In a normal country, regulators would put a swift end to this kind of silliness, but we live in the USA...

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14490722)

In a normal country, regulators would put a swift end to this kind of silliness...
And in Soviet Russia... well, don't get me started.

Count the nickels and dimes. (4, Insightful)

BrynM (217883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490556)

I wonder who they'll charge for the spam and worm traffic... MS? Spammers? Consumers with zombie machines? Will porn be super slow in the future or will they pay up?

Seriously though, these "charges" will of course be passed along to us end users somehow, much like the telcos do now with the fees they are charged (look at your phone bill). More plentiful/intrusive ads, registrations a la NYT (note from mom and teste req'd) or just a flat out service fee. The folks playing MMORPGs will probably see the spike most directly in their monthly fees. Of course this leaves us schleps with personal servers and such with yet one more bill to pay if they get aggressive enough about deciding who a content provider is. The bandwidth wars are begining, methinks.

Ridiculous (5, Funny)

Kamidari (866694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490557)

That just seems crazy to me... The people accessing the site pay for their internet access, but that's not good enough - they need to double-charge. Seems akin to charging grandma a toll when relatives came to visit her via a tollway on Thanksgiving. She got some benefit from the tollway too, right?!? Cough it up, you leeching old hag!

If BellSouth is your ISP... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14490559)

You'd better jump ship now! Think about it. Your surfing speed is about to take a hit because all the sites that you go to will refuse to pay his extortion.

My only hope is that BellSouth subscribers all jump ship and this idea crashes and burns hard. Yea, it's a fantasy but, I have to hang on to hope. Hopefully a mainstream news rag will educate the great unwashed and put this schmuck in his place.

Jump ship to where? (3, Interesting)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490707)

Bellsouth DSL users, post up your alternatives... my bet is they're a network of regional monopolies. Of course if there's cable modems competing against them, the cable modem providers are probably thinking of a similar tactic.

New RFC: WWW over UUCP (0, Offtopic)

FacePlant (19134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490565)

Where's Telebit when you need them?

Re:New RFC: WWW over UUCP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14490749)

You are the man. No one knows about telebit anymore......

I know someone who works(ed) for them. He is great to bounce things off of. He showed me old router and modem code that het used to write for them. He knows most WAN protocols off the top of his head to the bit level. I like talking with him... He wrote his own packet sniffer (and sells it, it is a good piece of software)

Greed (5, Insightful)

Mnemia (218659) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490567)

This is nothing but greed at its worst, and it will ultimately ruin the Internet if it succeeds. I'm guessing they are aiming this primarily at VoIP companies since they are worried about losing their local phone monopoly, but it could affect a lot of other things in a negative way too (by undermining the whole economics of the Internet, and vastly increasing expenses for running a website). I think the best move would be for all the bigger companies (like Google, etc) to just refuse to pay their money. Then it's the ISP that looks like the bad guy if they intentionally downgrade the service for refusal to pay "protection money".

Re:Greed (2, Insightful)

Moby Cock (771358) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490697)

This signals the death knell for 'old style' communications companies. BellSouth (and many others) simply refuse to accept that the economics of communication are changing They feel entitled to their monopolies and plan to fight any threats to them. This ploy may work for a little while but I am confident that the market will allign itself. In the meantime, anyone on BellSouth should switch (if possible). I abandoned Bell about two years ago and life is great! Come and join me!

Is this a surprise? (4, Interesting)

denissmith (31123) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490570)

My understanding is that I have paid for a specific download and upload rate from my provider. That rate allows whatever content I download - iTunes or Limewire, applications and product updates. My Understanding is that Apple pays for their connection to the internet, as well, and that there is some level of service ( in bits/sec) that they pay for. So where is this - "they didn't pay us" The transmission of the bits has been paid for, whether those bits were html pages or mp3s or program updates is irrelevant to the discussion. This is all the outcome of the FCC decision not to apply the telecom rules to the broadband market and to 'regulate' it as an information service. All of which ought to sway those who argue that regulation is unnecessary that their view is inadequate, regulation can be good or can be bad - it depends on the regulations, but the lack of regulation always gives the person or group in a power position the right to dictate terms. Some people may argue that you can always switch from BellSouth, but that isn't reality for most people - it is their only choice. If telcos have mispricedthe service, for me or for the content providers, then the price for a level of service should, and will, rise, but charging to tilt the playing field (in favor of the paying content providers) will raise the barrier to entry, and ultimately it will foreclose certain types of internet use, specifically shared, non-commercial applications.

they are the lion, we are the lamb (-1, Troll)

Cryofan (194126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490719)

The whites in America who have been demonized by the fauxleft have thus been seduced by the right and the plutocrats and megacorps. Part of that seduction is the idea that the individual is the lion and so therefore deregulation is good. But we are the lamb. CorpGovMedia is the Lion. See the world for what it is....

Re:Is this a surprise? (1)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490732)

Yeah, but what about reciprocal charges? In the POTS world, you paid your phone company and for every call that terminited on a different carrier, that carrier paid your phone company a small amount for using thier resources? It all evened out the at the end of the month (well, until modem bank services tipped the balance because they reaped the benefit of all the in-coming calls being charged back without making any outgoing calls)

In a case where an ISP is charging content providers for service to that same ISPs customers, well, that I think is wrong. But what if an ISP is a hop or two between the content provider and consumer and doesn't receive money from either the content provider or consumer? The intervening ISP ships that data for free and the only benefit is the result of a gentlemans agreement that other ISPs will ship thier customers data (content provider or consumer) for free.

Charge$ (2, Interesting)

Lord Bilbo (765419) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490575)

Sounds like those who have a web site, even those with a small website, will be getting a bill from each provider that allows information from that page to pass to a user viewing that information?

You've got mail....

From Verizon, Cablevision, Time Warner, Earthlink, SBC, AOL....

Good way to get rid of those small, annoying web sites by charging them into oblivion. Right???

Bell... (1)

ladyKae (945309) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490580)

Bill Smith, chief technology officer at BellSouth justified content charging companies by saying they are using the telco's network without paying for it.
Does that mean 'they' get to see BellEnds over BellSouths network for free

If nothing else will... (4, Insightful)

richdun (672214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490588)

...this will definitely get the FCC involved more heavily in regulating Internet providers. The "information service" loophole they've been using to get away with less regulation won't hold up much longer if things like this kick up. The Internet is quickly becoming one of those pieces of infrastructure vital to the public good, just like electricity , phone service, etc, especially when cable, phone and Internet access are now (or soon will be) virtually one service. States may have been deregulating the traditional utilities recently, but I could see something like this swinging the pendulum to the other side.

What next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14490592)

Are they going to start charging consumers?

I guess that means the end of my free all-you-can-eat DSL.

All it takes is for Google or MS to tell them "no" (1)

Snarfangel (203258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490596)

Their customers would not stand for blocking either internet searching or security updates.

Who Do Users Trust More? (5, Insightful)

Kamel Jockey (409856) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490597)

Their ISP, or a particular content provider, say Google. I see 2 potential outcomes here:

  1. BS users will not notice any significant degradation in connections to websites like Google, Yahoo, or in using VoIP services or the like. In which case, these content providers will not pay extortion fees to BS. BS retaliates by blocking access to these sites and users leave BS as a result.
  2. Content providers actively solicit BS customers away from BS. For example, a BS customer loads up Google and sees a message on the page like "Don't like the way this page loads? It's because your ISP, BS, stinks! Switch to ISP XYZ today!" Google is seen by many people as an entity which can "do no evil" and as a result it might be able to get away with such a move. A VoIP provider might put a pre-recorded message prior to each call which could say "Your ISP, BS is purposefully degrading the quality of this call. If you don't like this, switch to ISP XYZ today!"

What needs to happen here is that word needs to get out that BS is not offering better service to those who pay, but is rather offering crippled service to those who don't pay. Both statements are true because granting one group of traffic priority over the other reduces the quality of the connection available to the other groups of traffic.

Sounds like the Mafia's movin' into Telco... (5, Funny)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490599)

He suggested that Apple Computer might be asked to pay a nickel or a dime to insure the complete and rapid transmission of a song via the Internet, which is being used for more and more content-intensive purposes. He cited Yahoo Inc.'s plans to stream reality TV shows as an example.

A little JavaScript box pops up: "If youse would like to download the remainder of dis' song, youse need to contribute to the fund, or we can't be held responsible for what might happen to da' data, see?

Re:Sounds like the Mafia's movin' into Telco... (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490681)

There has got to be some law on the books about fscking around with interstate commerce to prevent this.

What I can't believe is this... (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490688)

He suggested that Apple Computer might be asked to pay a nickel or a dime to insure the complete and rapid transmission of a song via the Internet, which is being used for more and more content-intensive purposes.

Quite apart from the protection-racket sound of this that you point out, I wonder just what Bellsouth think their customers are paying them for?

They're a broadband internet service provider, right? What is attracting customers to broadband internet services? What's the killer app that's getting them all these customers and driving uptake?

Could it be music downloads? It's music downloads, isn't it? Yeah. That's what it is. That's why every damn advert I see for broadband connections emphasises that you can download music and movies and such over it.

FFS, guys. Apple are providing your killer app, your main marketing bonus, the reason why people WANT YOUR SERVICE. Talk about killing the golden goose...

Who came up with this? I'm betting Marketing, with a side-bet on Legal.

Re:Sounds like the Mafia's movin' into Telco... (4, Insightful)

wren337 (182018) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490767)

Your comment got rated funny, but this is no joke. Do you think bell south is going to offer service FASTER THEN THEY ALREADY OFFER if you pay up? Of course not - the shipping metaphor he keeps using breaks down. They aren't offering ground VS air service here. What he is doing is threatening to degrade service if you don't pay.

That's not pay for performance, it's blackmail.

Slow (4, Insightful)

Have Blue (616) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490602)

Who does BellSouth think their customers will blame when "the Internet is slow"? Especially when they ask their tech friends who point out that switching to a different ISP will make it faster?

And there goes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14490608)

their business. If I were an "content provider", and asked to pay that fee, I would quit serving BellSouth customers. (This can be easily done by checking the IP address the customer is connecting from). I would put up an simple page explaining why and directing them to call BellSouth customer service to complain. If BellSouth gets enough calls, they will have to drop the fees or start losing customers.

Bell South quality is questionable (0, Offtopic)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490611)

This may be a bit off topic, but I remember that the Bell South brand telephones were of the absolute WORST quality of all manufacturers.
They were cheaply made, rattled when moved, and broke fairly quickly as I recall.

Maybe their poor quality can say something about their overall business practices. Maybe not.

Not paying for network use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14490612)

Aren't we paying for the use of their network by signing up for their service? Sounds like a case of double billing.

Please note! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14490619)

What they're talking about is charging content providers that want higher priority, not charging all content providers for access. This is still very bad, but it's not like you won't be able to run your own servers any more.

Huh? Somebody please explain! (1)

grandgator (946504) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490620)

I fundamentally don't understand this.

TFA says that Apple, for example, might be charged a nickle or dime per song to make sure that the data transfers completely and quickly. Ignoring the big bad implications of the word "completely," I just dont' get it.

Apple doesn't magically or arbitrarily produce it's own bandwidth. They have, at some level, an ISP, which they pay for a certain amount of bandwidth use.

That ISP also has a carrier, and the ISP pays that carrier.

And so forth...

So, if Apple is already paying for their bandwidth, why do they have to pay again? I just don't understand. The only analogy that I can come up with as a comparison is like renting a car that the rental company has leased. In this case, if you go to Enterprise and pay to rent a car that they have in turn leased from GM, does GM come after you for an "extra fee" because you drove 1,000 miles? Is that the kind of situation that's being explained here?

USF and Taxes? (1)

da3dAlus (20553) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490625)

God-fucking-dammit! I really hated BellSouth before, but now I'm REALLY pissed. Making the analogy to driving on highways and interstates that were built using federal funds: wasn't the Universal Service Fee that's still tacked onto every phone bill supposed to actually build the basic telco infrastructure? Wouldn't that make the "pipes" the same as the interstates, and therefore already paid for by us (or the government)? These goddam telco carriers tack on all the extra fees and taxes ON TOP of their base charges already, just so they can keep their advertised costs "competitive". That alone is more than unfair, but this really takes the cake. Who would be best to recieve comments, state reps in government, or direct to the FCC?

Decline to pay (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490628)

Were I a provider, I'd decline to pay. If BellSouth doesn't want to let people visit my website because I won't pay, we'll let the subscribers decide. My little website won't make a difference, but what happens when BellSouth subscribers can't get to Google or iTunes all of a sudden? Somehow I don't think people are so enamored of BellSouth that they'll give up major sites to stick with their ISP.

To be truly annoying, a provider might turn it around and send BellSouth a bill for their use of the provider's resources. After all, all those BellSouth subscribers are using Yahoo's server CPU time and bandwidth without paying for it... :)

So who do we sue for copyright violation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14490629)

As Bellsouth are now claiming responsibility for the content and as the data from my sites will be copied into their systems when their customers seek to access it who do I charge for the copies they make?

Options For BellSouth Customers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14490630)

Does anyone know what are the other options for current BellSouth customers?

Or are they stuck?

Will Bellsouth block access to those sites? (5, Insightful)

cmoney (216557) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490633)

So does this mean if a content provider doesn't pay up, BellSouth will throttle down data coming from that provider? Will they arbitrarily lose packets to slow down transmission? Or do they block all access altogether?

Also as to what Mark Cuban said: Don't we already have different levels of service quality? If I pay for dialup access at say $9/month I get a certain amount of bandwidth. If I pony up $25/month for DSL I get even more. If I decide cable is the way to go and pay $50/month, even more than DSL (in my case at least). And finally, if I really want guaranteed access, I pay for business-level service. So what the hell are these poeple talking about? If I'm already paying for my bandwidth, why am I being asked to pay again. Because we all know that it's the consumers who will end up paying these extra fees.

All these old-school legacy companies need to get a swift ass kicking.

Another case 13 years ago (1)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490636)

I recall that back in the early 90's, there was a ISP that wanted to charge other ISP for access to the networks and services they hosted. I don't think that lasted all that long. Anyone recall the ISP? I am at a loss.

Will this slow down my spam downloads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14490637)

If so, then those MMF guys better pay up or they're going to become MMS, Make Money Slow.

Free internet for consumers (1)

EdMcMan (70171) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490642)

Great! I guess since the content providers are paying for the internet now, we consumers will not have to.

Note: This isn't going to happen. Rather, Bellsouth is going to charge two parties for the same service.

"It would be a shame if.... (5, Insightful)

feorlen (214880) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490643)

... your data were routed through West Elbonia, now wouldn't it?"

How is this different from paying off the guys with the baseball bats? Or having to hire a "fixer" to get your building permit?

And just how would they be able to "enforce" anything? I see a RICO lawsuit headed their way...

Does that mean (1)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490656)

When I call my mom, she will have to pay for the call? I mean let's face it...even though I pay to speak to my mom, that doesn't mean she has a right to hear it or respond...she needs to pay my phone company also....as DSL clients finally switch to Cable - and a monopoly gets created by the phone company that works in THEIR disfavor.

Optimistically, (1)

CustomDesigned (250089) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490667)

it sounds like they are talking about QOS (quality of service) charges. It would be entirely reasonable to offer a new level of service with priority QOS tags for extra dough. This could be worth paying for VOIP or other real-time applications. I can't believe they would get by with charging other ISPs customers just for internet access. (But I've underestimated greed before.)

Doesn't the internet user pay for the network usa? (4, Insightful)

amigabill (146897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490671)

>Bill Smith, chief technology officer at BellSouth justified
>content charging companies by saying they are using the telco's
>network without paying for it.

I thought the internet service customer was the one paying for use of the vendor's network?? As in, I as a Comcast cablemodem customer am paying for use of Comcast's network. Comcast's product that I am buying from them is the ability to access Google, hotmail, webmd, or whoever's web sites I care to look at.

It sounds like they're wanting to double-charge for a single service. Kindof like if Walmart decided to charge me for the DVD, and also charge the movie producers for the right to have their DVD sold in Walmart's store.

I've heard rumors that Verizon may be considering this policy as well while I've been asking around about DSL and FIOS. If they pull a prank like this, I may stick with Comcast, even though I'm relatively unhappy with their service's reliability in my case.

I know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14490691)

I know some one else that charges providers for proformance.

This shall end quickly (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14490692)

This type of business extortion is not sustainable. Imagine putting up a web server and having to contact every ISP on the planet to pay for "premium" service. Imagine what the first 1000 tech support calls will sound like:

cust> why does site foo load so slowly but site bar loads fast?
supp> site foo did not pay for premium service across our network.
cust> but _I_ pay you for access to the internet. and I want that site to load fast.
supp> please contact site foo and tell them that.
cust> but my friends connection at home loads everything fast.
supp> uhhh hmmm.. please contact site foo and tell them to pay us for premium fee's.
cust> ohhh nevermind, can I cancel service now?

This system of premium extortion only works if _every_ isp on the planet does it. Let's watch them lose customers and see how adamant they are then.

--jboss

Single packet -- how many charges? Akamai ! (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490700)

Does BellSouth peer directly with all these content providers? If not, then each packet has to go throght multiple networks, incurring multiple charges on the way.

I guess Akamai will benefit the most, since the way for a content provider to minimise all the charges is to ensure that the number of networks their packets cross on their way to a customer is minimised.

Here is a challenge to BellSouth customers... (5, Insightful)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490703)

Find an ISP -- preferably a small, mom-and-pop operation, or at least a customer friendly, yes-we-do-have-a-clue company -- and switch.

I mean it, vote with your dollars and with your feet, so to speak, and leave Bell $outh behind for good. Send a clear message to the extortionists that they are: we won't tolerate this, we won't accept this and you will pay the price for your stupidity.

I just hope Bell South will understand the message when they see their customers desert in droves.

Re:Here is a challenge to BellSouth customers... (1)

Packet Pusher (231564) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490748)

Make sure your mom & pop ISP isn't buying access from Bell South if you really want this to work.

Protection Money (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490709)

Sounds more like the mob then a 'common carrier'.

Does this mean they also lose that status, since they are mananaging the data now? Scary concept for future privacy ( of what we have left anyway )

If this is a value added service.. (1)

wanax (46819) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490716)

I would have no problem with this if they charged for guaranteed speed above and beyond what's normally available, which would invovle building more infrastructure and then using it as a 'premium channel' so to speak, but the way this article is phrased... ie. "Apple would asked to pay 5 or 10 cents per song" and "Online game companies would be targeted" makes the whole thing sound like extortion rather than providing a value-added service for a fee.

Bell South has every right to do this... (1)

harmless_mammal (543804) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490718)

Look, moving video over the net requires a steady high-bandwidth transfer while downloading the latest Fedora iso does not. Guaranteeing a steady high-speed transfer is a different level of service that has a cost.

Big companies would rather deal with other big companies than millions of households. There's less overhead.

Besides, this is just the Walmart model. Walmart charges it's suppliers for shelf usage and placement, why can't Bell South charge content "suppliers" for premium bandwidth with guaranteed service levels?

BellSouth's Global Reach? (4, Interesting)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490720)

It goes without saying that BellSouth are probably one of the biggest, if not the biggest, gateways between IPs in US and the rest of the world. But what about their Global reach?

Will traffic between EU addresss be affected by this? EU and Japan? China? Middle east? India? Are Canadian content providers going to have to pay BellSouth extortion money to host for customers outside of the US?

Anyone have any ideas on this? How long has his arm grown while the armies of good lay sleeping?

Well, if they... (1)

citizenklaw (767566) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490724)

Didn't pay through the nose for outsourcing and offshoring, they could instead invest in better technology and lower prices.

This is just sheer greed.

Disclaimer: I *know* someone there.

Who is the 600 lb gorrila? (1)

Moby Cock (771358) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490725)

How big is BellSouth? I mean, do they think they can take on Apple, Google and Yahoo? In the end the BellSouth subscribers are on the internet for the content. If The big content provider refuse to pay it how long could Bellsouth last?

They Will Succeed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14490726)

Bell will succeed with this, even though it sounds ridiculous. Bell will sell this under the guise of Quality of Service(QoS). They will not penalize a provider for not paying them, not in the beginning anyway. What they will do is offer QoS guarantees to providers that need or would like it like Vonage or Skype. These providers will pay for the QoS because it will improve the quality of the provider's offerings to the provider's customer who is also a BellSouth customer.

For instance, Vonage will pay BellSouth because with QoS, Vonage can provide better VoIP call quality and even guarantees to their customers through Bellouth.

But, quite some time after this catches on, when all the big guys are paying for BellSouth QoS, the little guys that do not pay will start being squeezed out. Only then will people realize that if you don't pay BellSouth, your connection will be total crap and basically unusable but, by then, the concept of providers paying BellSouth for the QoS will be firmly entrenched.

It is actually an ingenious strategy. BellSouth increases its revenue by charging more for QoS but, instead of charging BellSouth customers more than they do already, they are reversing the charges and increasing their customer base. It's sneaky and underhanded and is almost guaranteed to be highly successful.

Is it new to pay for QOS? (2, Insightful)

Vapon (740778) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490736)

I am sure that most of these companies have already paid for quality of service and are not paying $40/month for their internet, they would have very high speed fibre connections coming in to give them the high speed connection to the internet allowing them to upload media to clients.

How is this different... (2, Interesting)

Yaa 101 (664725) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490742)

How is this different from current DDOS extortionists?

Maybe a slight tech difference, but to me in a social context it means exactly the same.

In other news... (5, Insightful)

revery (456516) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490756)

Starting next Monday the Yellow Cab Company of Chicago will begin charging all business to which a fare is delivered. "It is unreasonable," said Abraham Stoley, President of Yellow Cab, "for businesses to receive the benefit of customers and employees arriving at their sites in a safe and timely manner and for them to pay nothing. We spend time, we spend gas, and quite frankly, we expect them to pay their fair share of the fare." Although they are not implementing it at this time, Mr. Stoley went on to say that they may also begin billing all businesses passed on the way to a destination, as these business receive "free marketing". Businesses everywhere were unavailable for comment.

I'm already paying! (1)

cjames53 (845484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14490758)

I already pay a fair amount of money for "high speed" internet. What the hell am I paying for, if not to use Vonage, Skype, and the other high-speed services I need? If I were a Bell South customer, I'd be looking for alternatives.

BellSouth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14490774)

You guys just need to tell all your friends to vote Republican again , Not!
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