Friday, November 11, 2005

Breaking end-to-end design: SBC and the US Congress

SBC Communications Inc. Chairman Edward E. Whitacre Jr. recently stated:

Why should they be allowed to use my pipes? The Internet can't be free in that sense, because we and the cable companies have made an investment and for a Google or Yahoo or Vonage or anybody to expect to use these pipes free is nuts. see article.

A congressional committee is considering a bill that would allow telephone companies to treat some traffic differently than other traffic. Vint Cerf, co-inventor of the TCP and IP protocols, wrote the committe a letter objecting to the proposed legislation. He compared this violation of the end-to-end design principle to letting the telephone company tell you who you could call. (See our class note on the end-to-end design principle).

What is at stake for the telephone company here? For the economy?