There is nothing wrong in being a pipe

The more I think about the net neutrality debate the less I like what I learn. What is really puzzling for me is that carriers are complaining about having a privileged position and that is just unacceptable. It seems to me that network operators like AT&T, Comcast and Telecom Italia operate in an oligopolistic market, with extremely high barriers to new entrants, and with customers with strong disincentives to switch. The more I look at it the more I convince myself that network operators are telling politicians a fairy tale. Big telecoms want us to believe that they need to have some special power, because Google is taking away their margins. I am more inclined to believe that they should thank the governments that gave them a good and well defensible position, while focusing on delivering a good service.

There should be nothing wrong in being a dumb pipe: just focus on delivering a high quality service, voice and data, instead of venturing in idiotic ‘value added’ crap. Hell, even offer the option to the customer to shape internet traffic, couple it with real good customer service and enjoy the recurring revenue, maybe small but almost 100% sure. There is really nothing wrong in being a pipe.




  1. Ah, but the carriers are used to being able to nickel and dime you on extra charges on top of your monthly fee. First they charged you for extra minutes, then they charged you for SMS, now they charge you for data. If you just pay a flat monthly fee, that number will keep going down and down the way DSL does, and that’s what they’re trying to avoid. It’s what’s good for the consumer, but not the carrier.

    • But they chose to go down that path, a mistake that they should pay for, and not be allowed to ask for the government to grant them more benefits. In Italy we have never had flat monthly fees for voice calls, only recently they started to make these offers. And in Italy we still don’t have the super-silly flat fees for mobile data plans: how could AT&T think that it was sustainable? Their mistake, again.
      If the problem is Internet services free-riding on carriers’ infrastructure they should start charging them more for bandwidth. Will this mean the end of gratis gmail? I won’t cry for that but I will if net neutrality will be sacrificed to the altar of stupid business choices.