THE VOIP AND CHAT SERVICE Skype has blasted large telecom companies for threatening to charge Internet companies like Facebook to transfer data, especially on mobile devices.
In a hard-hitting blog post by Jean-Jacques Sahel, Skype’s European director of government and regulatory affairs, he aimed a volley at telcos for treating the Internet as “theirs” when it fact it doesn’t belong to anyone.
“[The Internet] has grown thanks to more than 40,000 networks voluntarily interconnecting to form an open, decentralised network of networks,” he said.
“The operators making the complaints right now only carry the data for a small part of its journey around the web.”
He argued that the Internet has never required content providers to subsidise the common carrier companies, saying, “Should water companies be allowed to charge garden centres, pasta makers and coffee producers for encouraging demand for water consumption?”
What Skype found more worrying about the idea of the telcos charging online companies was that it threatens the innovation behind people taking up the Internet on mobile devices, with software developers building apps and services behind the scenes.
Sahel said: “They are hard working small and mid-sized companies that are fighting for survival in a tough environment.”
“Alongside these heroes of the (mobile) Internet are thousands upon thousands of companies, big and small, who rely on the Internet to distribute their goods and services.”
“It is an affront to ask all these engines of economic growth to pay a fee to large multinational telecommunication companies.”
He also said that mobile customers are already paying network operators for Internet access with data plans that only appeal to users because they want access to apps and services like Spoitify and Facebook.
French and EU authorities are having formal consultations over the open Internet, with the Information Society commissioner believing that EU regulations should protect network neutrality and freedom. µ
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