AT&T: "Free Ride" For Google And Others Is Over

AT&T's CEO Ed Whitacre is once again crowing about his company's plans to extort money from Google and other Web sites who want to be able to reach AT&T customers. "The content providers should be paying for the use of...

February 1, 2006

1 Min Read
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AT&T's CEO Ed Whitacre is once again crowing about his company's plans to extort money from Google and other Web sites who want to be able to reach AT&T customers. "The content providers should be paying for the use of the network," he told the Financial Times, and added that they shouldn't "expect a free ride." AT&T, SBC, Verizon, and others have been busy touting their Soprano-like business model, in which they charge consumers who want to get broadband access, and then extort money from big Web sites if those sites want to be able to reach consumers.

And how would those Web sites get the money to pay AT&T and fellow cyber-mafiosi? According to Godfather Whitacre, they should charge you for using their sites. "They might pass it on to their customers," he says of the fees that he wants to charge the sites. Then the sites could send the money straight to AT&T.

In Whitacre's world, you pay AT&T in order to connect to the Internet, then you pay Google and many other Web sites in order to use those sites...and all the money ends up in his pockets.

Can't someone stop this guy? Considering that the FCC is in the pockets of the big Telcos, probably not. But let the FCC and your Congressmen know it's time for Whitacre and friends to stop cyberextortion.

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