There’s gold in them there network packets

Via Business Week, At SBC, It’s All About “Scale and Scope”:

“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?

The Internet can’t be free in that sense, because we and the cable companies have made an investment and for a Google or Yahoo! (YHOO ) or Vonage or anybody to expect to use these pipes [for] free is nuts!”

Here’s a returning argument that was used by MCI many years ago, and I recalled in a posting about the tussle between Cogent and Level 3.

Ars Technica responds,

“… he [CEO Edward Whitacre] leaves out the most important part: their customers. It’s SBC’s DSL customers who are paying to “use these pipes,” and the idea that certain kinds of usage are categorically different than others has a fair share of problems.”

A related argument is about the way in which ISPs have been asked, on occasion, to pay additional taxes to offer Internet services, such as when the city of Tacoma, WA has attempted to tax ISPs. The problem is that ISPs already pay taxes for each phone line, at that time it was all about dial-up, and various other fees. For example, ISPs were still paying for 911 services for every line POTS line.