by CIO Staff

The ISP Industry Takes a Stand Against Vonage

Mar 31, 20052 mins

TechDirt has a blog entry detailing how some ISPs are beginning to rally behind the cause of preventing voice over IP providers such as Vonage from using their networks.

The blog refers to a Light Reading article on the topic that contains an interesting quote from David McClure, president and CEO of the U.S. Internet Industry Association.

In defending his contention that ISPs should be able to block services such as VoIP, McClure is quoted as saying: “Some people have the idea that if you go out and invest and build technology somehow you should just give it away to anybody who wants it.”

This is incredibly ironic given that not many ISPs actually dug ditches and laid cable to build their businesses. Most of them piggyback—thanks to federal regulation—on networks built and maintained by other companies. Granted, I don’t know who McClure really works for: It could be that the IIA primarily represents ISPs like Verizon and Comcast that own their networks as opposed to, say, Earthlink or America Online.

Maybe it needs to go out for a tune-up, but my hypocrisy detector was clicking like a centipede in tap shoes when I read that.

Now the case cited in the main story is about Clearwire, a wireless ISP. And just in case you haven’t read your mobile phone provider’s terms of service recently, the wireless guys aren’t obligated to offer the same openness we’ve come to expect from the landline telephone folks.

But still, you’d think McClure would have thought twice before publicly stating something that could boomerang on him at some future date. . . say during a congressional hearing on plans to regulate the ISP industry.