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Phone Co Toll Demand Seems Reasonable

My initial reaction upon hearing that Verizon, et al, want to charge Google, Yahoo!, et al, for carrying broadband content over their networks was that this was yet another pathetic attempt by whining, dying monopolies to make themselves relevant in a new world.  After reading the details, however, it seems that the content providers are the ones being unreasonable.

According to the WSJ, Verizon, et al, want to charge content providers extra to guarantee rapid delivery of broadband content (music, movies, VOIP, etc.).  They’ll still deliver it if the content providers don’t pay, they just won’t guarantee that it will get there fast.

Yes, such an arrangement would leave plenty of room for sleaze (make the “regular” delivery so slow that content companies have no choice by to pay up), but, on its face, it seems perfectly reasonable.  Want your customers to get your stuff quicker?  Then pay us more.  In a physical-mail analogy, this seems similar to FedEx or the US Postal Service charging more to deliver a 300-pound box overnight than a letter.

This said, I may be missing something about how the phone companies already charge. Do Google, Yahoo! already pay per unit of traffic?  Are the phone companies already charging more for the 300-pound box?  If they are, and if they’re just whining to the regulatory folks for help getting more, then I’ll have to go back to my initial reaction.

All help appreciated…

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