AT&T now willing to give content providers the "NSA Deal"

The bad press surrounding AT&T’s cozy relationship with the NSA must have really gotten to Ed Whitacre Jr. (see “AT&T. Your world, delivered.“). How else could one explain the AT&T chairman’s sudden reversal on another hot-button issue these days, Net neutrality. Speaking at Sanford C. Bernstein and Company’s Strategic Decisions Conference, Whitacre, who’s been arguing for months that ISPs should be able to prioritize data traffic (see “‘Course what we’d really like to do is ‘prioritize’ some of these services right out of business ...”), said AT&T plans to do nothing of the sort. “We’re not going to do anything to affect the Internet — nothing, zero, no packet prioritization there,” he said.

This from the same guy who in November of 2005 said content providers who use telecom or cable pipes to deliver bandwidth-taxing services should have to pay additional fees to have those services transmitted without interruption. “Now what they [the content providers] would like to do is use my pipes free, but I ain’t going to let them do that because we have spent this capital and we have to have a return on it,” Whitacre told BusinessWeek. “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!”


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  • Chris McDannold

    Maybe someone reminded Whitacre that Congress gave the telcos billions a few years ago to run fiber to every home in the US. Where that money went is anyone’s guess, but I cannot even get naked DSL much less fiber.

  • andrew

    Maybe Whitacre looked at his revenue #s and saw that nobody was buying priority service, so he stopped wasting his time promoting it.

  • Tom

    He works for AT&T, a company that has harmed consumers continuously over the last 100 years. Let’s see in the 1920’s and early 1930’s AT&T would build a duplicate telephone network in a town and once it was fully functional, they would go out on a single night and cut down all of the competitions poles. A couple years of that and then they petitioned Congress to make the telephone business a ‘natural’ monopoly.

    Then there was the 1980’s when they still charged the US Government, the single largest consumer of LD in the country, a premium price of 45 cents a minute. This when as individual consumers we could get 10 cents a minute. Yep, our tax dollars at work. Fortunately, FTS2000 bid came along and at least for the Sprint side of the contract the rate dropped to 4.5 cents per minute.

    Who believes anything AT&T states?

  • jerry

    I say we waterboard the SOB CEO NOW!

  • Jef

    I think of lot of big corporations are laying back for the Nov elections, trying to maintain the Rep votes in congress. They will see how that goes, then put on steam for their real motivations, once they have a 2 year window to rape and pillage before the (obviously) dem president takes office in 08.

  • ixley

    AT&T is getting bad press from every angle, so the fact that Whitacre would come out and say something completely vague and noncommital that implies they’re backing down from the fight against net neutrality shouldn’t surprise anyone. What reason is there to take him seriously?


    The NSA is AT&T, scammers all the way just like republicans, and democ-rats. Fuck em all

  • What I find interesting about this entire debate, is that the Democrats are not yelling “Foul!” on a political basis.

    Richard Nixon was impeached, and resigned his Presidency because of his ordering of illegal wiretaps intended to gather information about the Democratic Party plans. George Bush, and other senior Republican officials now are in control of all phone records of every opposition candidate. With simple software, these “crooks” can sift through the massive NSA database and snoop on their political opponents’ calling habits.

    Not only is this advantageous to the current party in power, it is also another attack on the checks and balances of the Constitution of the United States. The Executive branch has access to the call records of every Senator, Congressman and Supreme Court Judge. This in itself should send chills down your spine, and chills down the spine of every elected representative in the United States. Big Brother knows when Senators are calling each other and debating over undecided issues. Big Brother George knows when Governors are calling their Congressional representative to discuss sovereign State issues. Hell George knows when you call your representative to inform them of local issues. They may even be tagging you as a trouble maker, or a wave maker for doing so!

    The truth is, we do not know what the Executive Branch is doing with this illegally gleaned information. The TRUTH is, they have been proven to be a reckless and immature bunch when it comes to dealing straight with the American people and the other two branches of Government. Do we really TRUST them to do the right thing?

    James H. Hughes