Paying for the pipes.

Ed Whitacre, CEO of SBC Telecommunications, is against net neutrality because he doesn’t want anybody using his pipes for free:

How do you think they’re going to get to customers? Through a broadband pipe. Cable companies have them. We have them. Now what they would like to do is use my pipes free, but I ain’t going to let them do that because we have spent this capital and we have to have a return on it. So there’s going to have to be some mechanism for these people who use these pipes to pay for the portion they’re using. Why should they be allowed to use my pipes?

Well it seems that even with a neutral network, people are paying Bell South to use their pipes. In fact, they’re paying them a lot more:

BellSouth Corp.’s second quarter profit grew 11.6 percent, boosted by Cingular Wireless’ performance and an increase in Internet business. The Atlanta-based telecommunications company said it earned $887 million on $5.2 billion in revenue for the quarter, up from a $795 million profit on $5.1 billion in revenue in the second quarter the year before.

Since it’s clear that these folks are getting a return on the capital they’ve spent, and a growing one even with the status quo, shall we assume that the real motivator is just greed?

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