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Disney Boss: Feds Should Leave Telcos Alone

Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger made it clear yesterday that he sides with AT&T, Verizon, and other big telcos when it comes to allowing them to charge web sites fees for adequate bandwidth. He told the TelecomNext show in Las Vegas: "We do not support any [network neutrality] legislation at this time."
Iger claims that big telcos have promised not to degrade or block services, but that's far from being true. AT&T honcho Whitacre has frequently said that he may block Google from using his "pipes" if the site wants adequate bandwidth, for example.

Iger is smart enough to know that AT&T and others have been making these threats. So why is he playing such Mickey Mouse games with the issue?

It's because Disney has everything to gain, and nothing to lose, if telcos put the muscle on Google and other sites. First of all, as Paul Kapustka notes in his report about Iger's speech, Disney "is already participating in partnerships with access providers like Verizon and distributors like Apple's iTunes store for its branded content." So Disney wants to help its business partners.

There are other reasons as well. Telcos pay Disney for content, and they'll stream that content at high speeds. If no laws are passed, telcos can make sure that competitors to Disney get their content streamed at lower speeds.

The FCC has made it clear it won't pass regulations about this, so it's up to Congress to decide. Disney has a lot of friends there, as do the telcos. If you feel strongly about the matter, let your Congressmen know.