Earthlink on VoIP

I just saw Earthlink’s statement about applauding the FCC’s decision to require SBC/Verizon to offer stand-alone or naked DSL service. The statement is entitled “Victory For VoIP.” The full statement is as follows:

"We applaud today’s Federal Communications Commission decision that requires SBC and Verizon to offer Stand-Alone DSL as a condition for their separate merger approvals.  As a result of this decision, more than 80 million consumers will now be able to take advantage of emerging Internet voice and data applications without also having to buy legacy wire-line local telephone service from their phone company.

"Today’s FCC decision in favor of mandatory ‘net neutrality’ provisions helps guarantee the rights of all consumers to access the Internet content and applications they choose.

"EarthLink strongly believes that the promise of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and other IP-enabled services is vast.  By requiring consumer safeguards, the FCC is fostering more Internet competition and innovation, which will directly benefit our economy and homeland security."

After my article yesterday on SBC, I wonder if I am being too cynical. SBC CEO Ed Whitacre wouldn’t make a statement like:

How do you think they’re going to get to customers? Through a broadband pipe. Cable companies have them. We have them. Now what they would like to do is use my pipes free, but I isn’t going to let them do that because we have spent this capital and we have to have a return on it. So there’s going to have to be some mechanism for these people who use these pipes to pay for the portion they’re using. 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 [for] free is nuts!

If he didn’t have a plan to stop others from using his pipes for free… Would he make this statement? Why would he say this unless there is something planned to differentiate SBC services from others?

Mr. Whitacre is a seasoned executive and from what I understand, very intelligent. I just wonder how comments like this could be kept in a vacuum with no action behind them. 

    Leave Your Comment