Verizon on Net Monitoring: Bad Idea

Image: Verizon gets it right!Verizon apparently believes it’s a bad idea to monitor content that passes through its communications services. This may sound obvious to you and me, but it isn’t to rival AT&T, who is going out of its way to do just that
(call it: Your World. Monitored).

According to a NY Times Bits blog post, Verizon objects to such monitoring for three fundamental reasons. The first is the slippery slope: Once you police for one type of content, others will cry for their content to be given equal protection. The second is the implied liability of not protecting copyrighted works – if you select for some copyrighted works, you must do it for all copyrighted works. Omission would breed potential lawsuits. And finally, but not least, the third reason is privacy.

Tom Tauke, Verizon’s executive V.P. for Public Affairs, doesn’t buy media industry and AT&T arguments that illegal sharing of video is a network encumbrance. In fact, he sees it in quite the opposite light, believing that any increase is usage will translate into increased demand for services:

“Generally we see that as a good thing. We have more customers paying for more services we provide.”

Stunning: someone making a business case for providing open and unfettered internet access.

The pricing implication is likely a set of tiered access plans based upon usage rates, adding to or maybe supplanting unlimited use plans. This is where they will have to tread carefully, and I really hope, as much as their temptation is to take the price up from a baseline established by current unlimited use fees, that they will pull it down below that line for modest users.

There is another factor on Verizon’s side: FiOS. FiOS is a high-capacity fiber optics system that Verizon has been building out to homes (“the last mile”) across the country, which will substantially increase bandwidth over rival cable and DSL technologies. Although only part of the dynamic internet puzzle, FiOS gives Verizon maneuvering room that others (like AT&T) does not have.

Let’s applaud Verizon for making the business case for no net monitoring, and await the reality of their tiered pricing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.