Friday, 6 February 2009

You're just a dumb pipe, now pay up.

Telco's have been eyeing content providers for money to pay for network upgrades and priority lanes. In the United States Wired reports that  ESPN, Disney and NFL have turned the tables. If ISP's don't pay them, their customers don't get access to ESPN360, matches and other content. The content providers have correctly concluded that they have the power. It is their content that people want to access. 

The NFL has demonstrated in recent years that broadcasting of NFL content is nothing more than a small margin game for cable companies. Cable companies need the content, but that also means they (or their customers) will need to pay whatever the NFL asks. The cable company is just a dump pipe and billing platform and gets paid accordingly. (The debate in the US goes much wider, and also sees anti-trust regulation come into play) 

Public broadcasters in Europe, like the BBC, omroep.nl and the Norwegian broadcaster probably can't follow this route, but telco's shouldn't find it likely for these organisations to start paying as recent fights have shown. 

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