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AT&T's Phony Concessions Win Plaudits

Tom Evslin explains how the alleged “concessions” by AT&T to get approval of its BellSouth buyout are a sham:

  • at&t’s IPTV is exempted from the neutrality provision. It is the TV “pipes” that at&t CEO Ed Whitacre thinks are his. Trouble is, there are no separate pipes on an IP network. at&t has left itself full flexibility to favor its own Internet video offers over all challengers or to charge others a premium for equal treatment.
  • Very carefully, the ACCESS network is defined as the part of the at&t supplied network between the customer premises and the nearest Internet peering point. But at&t owns huge stretches of Internet BACKBONE (the part of the Internet between peering points); there is absolutely no promise of neutrality here.
  • Even this very weak concession sunsets in two years rather than the three and half years at&t has offered for their other “concessions”.

Sadly, people who should know better have been utterly taken in by this bait-and-switch.

The principles that made the Internet the most open and valuable platform — for everyone, not just the people who control networks — have been shredded. CItizen media is going to be hurt badly by this deal.

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