For years we've discussed how incumbent phone company executives live in a bubble, believing that they magically deserve a cut of any traffic that so much as touches their network. It's the kind of logic that began the network neutrality debate back in 2005, when then AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre declared he "wasn't going to let Google ride his pipes for free." This idea that content companies get a "free ride" has been a cornerstone of telco think ever since, even if it's not supported by the facts
That hasn't stopped this argument from being made time
and time again
by broadband industry lobbyists, assorted hired mouthpieces
as their employers try to argue that companies like Google, Netflix and the BBC (iPlayer) should pay for network upgrades -- simply because
. The fact-free nature of the claim also hasn't stopped carriers from stupid behavior, as evidenced by the fact that ISPs in South Korea are now blocking smart TVs....because they consume data
KT started restricting internet access to Samsung’s smart TV applications, starting at 09:00 am, Friday. This is expected to inconvenience 250,000 Samsung smart TV users who subscribe to KT’s high-speed internet service. The dispute has been festering for a while as KT insists smart TVs share the costs of quality maintenance of the internet as they tend to hog the networks, while TV makers argue they have no obligation to do so.
The idea that Samsung should pay an extra toll simply because their device uses broadband (that consumers already pay for) is the same absurd logic used by AT&T to ignite the histrionic U.S. network neutrality debate. In this case the ISP in question not only wants an extra "just because" fee, but they likely want to protect their fledgling IPTV service (named "Ollie") from competition running along their network.
Despite significant profit margins and abundant new revenue streams (advertising via webmail
, selling clickstream data
, DNS Redirection revenue
, charging to get around spam filters
, targeted behavioral advertising
, fees to pay your bill in person or on the phone
) you're supposed to believe that poor, cash-strapped telecom conglomerates can't survive unless they're allowed to play "troll under the bridge."