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ATT’s Whitacre on Net Neutrality: “AT&T is not going to block anyone’s access to the Internet”

March 21, 2006
at 12:00 pm PST

I would like to draw your attention to an article on today’s “Telephony Online” website. Authored by Carol Wilson and entitled, “Whitacre Makes Internet Access Promise“, the article quotes ATT Chairman and CEO Whitacre as saying the following: “Companies are trying to scare people into thinking the Internet is at risk or that the Internet as we know it will disappear. AT&T is not going to block anyone’s access to the Internet and we are not going to degrade anyone’s quality of service. And that is not going to change no matter how much anyone talks about Net neutrality.”Although Mr. Whitacre and I may have slightly different paygrades and slightly different levels of impact on the telecommunications market, I would concur with his statement from where I sit at Cisco. The net neutrality issue is a solution in search of a problem that doesn’t exist.Please read the full article here or cut and paste this URL: http://telephonyonline.com/home/news/whitacre_net_neutrality_032106/

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6 Comments.


  1. But wouldn’t it be safer to regulate/legislate this ability to block or slow another’s traffic? To avoid some future cases at least, if not to avoid some huge future abuses.—

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  2. John,Seriously, Cisco’s number one priority is to generate revenue for your stock holders. The companies’ statement on network neutrality is a direct reflection of that. These key words “within the bandwidth limits and quality of service of their service plans” show me that in every paragraph. Cisco is probably already courting Telco’s, tier 1 and 2 providers with engineering specs on Cisco equipment to help throttle, regulate, and meter. Cisco’s statement just tries to put the blame on someone else, for causing consumers to pay through the nose for pricing levels far and above what’s already available and in place. Telco’s aren’t smart enough to figure out this pricing model on there own. Today the technology appliances are driving the business plans and models (another tipping point) in the art of revenue generation.I believe this is a whole new enterprise bevy of hardware and software to support the Telco’s holding consumers hostage for content. Content which is already part of the consumers’ current service plans or which the consumer has already paid for?The content metering pricing model (not happening) and the status of network neutrality remaining open with no pricings penalties is of major concern for me and my organization. I currently work for a public school district in rural Pennsylvania, where taxpayers already think that paying for technology services is something that is not a line item in the budget. We have strived and battled for years to get technology dollars for infrastructure and bandwidth. So, just when we are reaching our tipping point, the industry prognosticators and trends are looking to take fiscal advantage of us and other public and private schools across the nation. Schools pull huge amounts of content daily to provide learning on shoestring budgets. We are already zeroed out in terms of EETT funds with the president’s current budget proposal 06-07. In closing, the idea that Cisco is not providing statements directly to the fact, that it would be unfair for providers to charge additional pricing for content moving through their router. It is an indicator of there position in my opinion, that Cisco wants to sell new enterprise products at the consumers extra expense for content.Bill

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  3. John Earnhardt

    There has been no need to regulate in this area because there haven’t been any bad actors who are taking advantage of their ability to block or slow another application’s traffic, yet the OTT’s (Over-the-top”" providers) are advocating for Congress or regulators to regulate or legislate. To be accurate, there has been one instance of an SP blocking a VoIP provider’s traffic and that SP was quickly punished by the FCC. Again, a case-by-case basis, not a pre-emptive regulatory or legislative solution.As per blogs having an impact on this debate, I really couldn’t say. My best guess is that as there are more and more information sources out there it will be harder and harder to track what is influential because so many different sources will be touching many different people.”

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  4. Mr. Earnhardt,You mention that The net neutrality issue is a solution in search of a problem that doesn’t exist”" — would you explain what you mean by this statement?Also, do you think that corporate/business blogs are spurring the debate on this issue?Thank you,Fiona TorranceUSC Undergrad Studenthttp://bizblogreview.blogspot.com

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