This story is excerpted from here.
“Several large telephone and cable companies are starting to make it harder for consumers to use the Internet for phone calls or swapping video files.
Some of the companies say the users are hogging bandwidth, taking up too much space on networks and slowing down service for all customers that tap the Internet for email, video, music, phone and other services.”
“Wireless phone companies like Verizon Wireless and Vodafone Group PLC stipulate in their subscription contracts that customers can’t use the company’s high-speed Web-access networks for Internet calling — or may prohibit usage in the future. Several cable companies are using technology to cap the speed at which some of their customers can swap videos. A number of equipment companies are selling software
and other products designed to block and monitor Internet applications such as phone calls, video and photo downloads.”
“Critics [ yes, I am one of them! - Ed.] say the big operators are using their concerns about heavy network traffic to fight competition from smaller rivals that are using the phone and cable companies’ networks, like Internet calling companies Skype Technologies SA or Vonage Holdings Corp. Others [including me! - Ed.] say that telecom companies may use their control over the networks to charge users more money if they want higher quality.”
“The battle features big companies with multibillion-dollar telephone,cable and cellular networks into homes and tiny competitors who don’t own any network but whose low-cost or free services compete with those of the big operators. Consumers could get caught in the squeeze.
The crackdown is controversial: Consumers have come to expect unfettered use of the Internet. Any effort by phone or cable companies to curtail use so far has sparked an outcry.”