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February 7, 2006

Verizon exec trash talks Google’s “free lunch”

Posted by David Hunter at 10:55 AM ET.

Today’s episode of Blathering Bandwidth Biggies via Arshad Mohammed at The Washington Post:

A Verizon Communications Inc. executive yesterday accused Google Inc. of freeloading for gaining access to people’s homes using a network of lines and cables the phone company spent billions of dollars to build.

The comments by John Thorne, a Verizon senior vice president and deputy general counsel, came as lawmakers prepared to debate legislation that could let phone and cable companies charge Internet firms additional fees for using their high-speed lines.

“The network builders are spending a fortune constructing and maintaining the networks that Google intends to ride on with nothing but cheap servers,” Thorne told a conference marking the 10th anniversary of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. “It is enjoying a free lunch that should, by any rational account, be the lunch of the facilities providers.”

It’s funny how most customers thought their monthly fee provided adequate gustatory pleasure for the telecom titans. The telecom thesis is apparently that the IP bandwidth they are delivering isn’t really for the customers’ untrammeled use, but instead is some sort of wacky proprietary content delivery service with Internet access an afterthought.

He spoke as Congress is considering whether to write provisions that advocates say would ensure consumers unfettered access to the Internet. The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing today on the issue, which is known as net neutrality.

Opponents have argued that there is no need for such laws because there have been few instances of network providers blocking Web sites; because their customers would not stand for such limitations; and because, as a general rule, regulation of the Internet should be avoided.

Lot’s of luck with that since the perpetual whining of Mr. Thorne and others in the telecom industry about how they really need to provide two tiered Internet access (their five star restaurant and everyone else’s dumpster) is bound to make people nervous. Finally, although Google seems to be the designated industry whipping boy, Microsoft is also on the list of purported “free diners” whose pockets these guys would love to pick.

Filed under Coopetition, General Business, Governmental Relations, Verizon

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