In the Washington Post article Verizon Executive Calls for End to Google’s ‘Free Lunch’, Verizon’s John Thorne states “The network builders are spending a fortune constructing and maintaining the networks that Google intends to ride on with nothing but cheap servers. It is enjoying a free lunch that should, by any rational account, be the lunch of the facilities providers.”
Idiot. Either he doesn’t understand the architecture and the billing arrangements of the network we call the Internet, or, more likely, he is trying to influence those in position of power who do not understand it.
The network operators are in the business of building infrastructure and selling access to it. Much as a tollway provides access. A tollway does not care what is in your vehicle. It charges the same toll to every car. It charges the same toll to every truck of the same configuration.
Google purchases network connectivity from multiple network access providers. Those access providers in turn have agreements with other networks, such as Verizon, to exchange data with them. Now Verizon wants to charge Google and company, in addition to the fees Google pays to its network access providers, for the right to provide services to Verizon’s customers. Note: Verizon’s customers. Verizon’s customers pay Verizon for access to their network, and reasonably expect to be able access all other sites and services on the public, interconnected Internet.
Verizon is a special entity. Verizon, via its corporate ancestors, was provided with a unique opportunity, supported by government power, to possess a monopoly on communications services. It now wants to take the competitive advantage of being provided with a monopoly, call the network “its” network, and use it as a huge competitive advantage and market inhibiter. Verizon wants to convince people that it is only “fair” that its competitors build their own network, and not use Verizon’s. Verizon of course doesn’t want to mention that “its” network is the largess of government, not a competitive business environment.
If Verizon wants to compete with Google, then do so. Start up a corporation, and compete with Google on the same basis. Purchase network connectivity at market rates, and provide compelling services to customers. Go for it.