FYI, here’s the article that but a bee in the bonnet of the special interests who’re trying to shackle the Internet with their so-called net-neutrality regulations:
William L. Smith, chief technology officer for Atlanta-based BellSouth Corp., told reporters and analysts that an Internet service provider such as his firm should be able, for example, to charge Yahoo Inc. for the opportunity to have its search site load faster than that of Google Inc.
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.
Network operators can identify the digital “packets” of content moving through their wires from sites and services and can block some or put others at the head of the stream.
But Smith was quick to say that Internet service providers should not be able to block or discriminate against Web content or services by degrading their performance.
The complaint from regulation-happy special interests is that the telcos want to make the Internet like cable TV, to which I will simply say that the Internet has already internalized that model, and quite successfully. The dominant web services companies make their money the same way TV does, from a combination of ads, subscriptions, and pay-per-view. Google sells ads just like ABC does, iTunes is pay-per-view, and the New York Times sells subscriptions to Tom Friedman and Maureen Dowd. So where does all this high-and-mighty “we’re so much better than TV” crap come from, some delusion that Internet access is a gift from the Easter Bunny?
There’s a real public benefit to an accelerated service offering inasmuch as its a cheap way to level the playing field between rich incumbents like Google with fat pipes and server farms all over the net and startups with lean budgets. If people like Gigi Sohn were really the friend of the entrepreneur — and had even a basic knowledge of how the Internet actually worked and not just a sentimental fantasy about a democratic net — they would applaud Bell South’s ideas.