According to an article over at ars technica, a Skype executive mentioned that he has no worries about ISPs charginga premium to carry Skype traffic over their pipes. He believes that the Skype user base will cause an uproar with the ISP(s), such that the ISP(s) will have to reconsider their decision to cash in on Skype's hard work. To quote the article:
Skype's battleplan is simple. If their user base is large enough, companies will think twice about tampering with Skype traffic. When Brazil's biggest telecom pulled the plug on Skype, the outcry in the country was big enough that the decision was soon reversed. Bilefield said, "The community has the power to change things."While I don't know whether or not that is a sound strategy, it got me thinking about this whole "net neutrality" argument.
As I posted on the thread at Digg that referenced this article, I believe the ISPs are in a bit of a pickle if they think they can do whatever they wish with content providers. Unfortunately for them, the relationship between ISP and content provider is symbiotic. The ISP needs them to provide compelling, rich, bandwidth-hungry applications as much as the content providers need a pipe over which to provide the service or application. Would anyone really need a 6 Mbit connection (my current RoadRunner connection) if all they were doing was emailing and surfing CNN.com? As with most established monopolies, the ISPs will never innovate and/or change over time to stay relevant. Instead, they will focus all of their efforts on fighting the inevitable and piss off a lot of customers along the way, never giving thought to what was best for those customers.
Since the big Skype announcement this week of free Skype Out calling services, I have been trying to convince everyone I know to drop their land lines in favor of a Skype solution. I really hope it catches on in this country as it has in others and that we can, as Mr. Bilefield said, "have the power to change things".