“Any provider who blocks access to the Internet is inviting customers to find another provider….It’s bad business.” That, according to Networking Pipeline, is what AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre told an audience at the TelecomNext show on Tuesday. Added NP, “He then emphatically stated that AT&T would not block independent services, ‘nor will we degrade [Internet access]. Period, end of story.'”
So far, so good. Enter Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin. Talk about flip-flopping. As noted in the report, he said he believes the FCC has the necessary authority to enforce network neutrality violations. Then again, he also said that he “supports network operators’ desires to offer different levels of broadband service at different speeds, and at different pricing.” He added that if you don’t pay for better service, you ought not expect to get it.
I’m no telecom/pipeline expert, so I simply don’t get the nuances here. The truth is, though, I’m no different from most consumers in this way. When this stuff finally starts to play out in our broadband bills, nuances like Martin is making won’t mean diddly-squat.