BellSouth Wants to Charge for Web Speed

[SOURCE: Washington Post, AUTHOR: Jonathan Krim]
William L. Smith, chief technology officer for Atlanta-based BellSouth, said yesterday that Internet service providers should be allowed to strike deals to give certain Web sites or services priority in reaching computer users, a controversial system that would significantly change how the Internet operates. He believes BellSouth should be able, for example, to charge Yahoo for the opportunity to have its search site load faster than that of Google. Or, Smith said, his company should be allowed to charge a rival voice-over-Internet firm so that its service can operate with the same quality as BellSouth's offering. Several big technology firms and public interest groups say that approach would enshrine Internet access providers as online toll booths, favoring certain content and shutting out small companies trying to compete with their offerings. "Prioritization is just another word for degrading your competitor," said Gigi B. Sohn, president of Public Knowledge, a digital rights advocacy group. "If we want to ruin the Internet, we'll turn it into a cable TV system" that carries programming from only those who pay the cable operators for transmission. Consumer groups wonder, for example, how any Web start-up that might want to challenge an incumbent could expect to outspend it to get top or even equal performance over a network charging for the privilege. Ms. Sohn said claims of bandwidth scarcity are overblown. The real agenda, she said, is to put rival services at a disadvantage.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/30/AR200511...
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BellSouth Wants to Charge for Web Speed