Thursday, July 24, 2008

Monopoly power of U.S. telcos harms national interest, Internet protocol developer Vint Cerf says

Internet protocol developer and Google Internet evangelist Vint Cerf warns the existing structure of U.S. telecommunications providers impedes Internet access and harms the national interest. Cerf criticizes the monopolistic market power of the telcos, which allows them to hold out for regulatory concessions before investing in their infrastructure -- infrastructure he says is as vital as roads and highways.

While not calling on the government to bust up the monopoly, Cerf says providers need to be restructured, according to a Canadian account of a recent interview Cerf gave to a Silicon Valley blog:

Cerf said large internet service providers (ISPs) need to be split into two entities — one wholesale arm that sells access to the company's network to other firms, and one retail arm that sells internet access to customers. The wholesale arm would have to sell access to other service providers at the same rate that it charges itself.

The model has been adopted in the United Kingdom and New Zealand, where Cerf said it is working.

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