A number of Telcos, Bell South and AT&T among them, have begun to float the notion that internet content publishers and service providers should pay additional fees to insure that their content or service reaches its target audience quickly and reliably, a Quality of Service charge if you will. Their rationale behind these charges is that the content publisher is using the Telco network without paying and the Telco’s must recoup their investment in the network.
This is not just playing both ends against the middle, its wanting the middle and both ends. We are already being double charged for bandwidth as it is. If you are reading this you are sitting on the far end of some kind of internet connection that somebody (probably you) is paying for. You may be paying your telephone company, a cable company or a dialup ISP, but there is a bill being paid for your bandwidth usage.
The same applies to content publishers. The data centers of Yahoo, Google and iTunes are connected to massive network connections that they are paying for. They are, perhaps, paying Bell South or ATT and probably more than one supplier for redundancy, but they are paying to send their data into the internet. Data that is being paid for when it leaves the server and when it gets to the client does not need to be charged for on the way.
The key here is not to let them get away with it. Sure its their network and they can charge whatever the market will bear. Its up to you, as a consumer, to make sure the market won’t bear these outrageous charges.