Executive Wants to Charge for Web Speed

A senior telecommunications executive said yesterday that Internet service providers should be allowed to strike deals to give certain Web sites or services priority in reaching computer users, a controversial system that would significantly change how the Internet operates.
William L. Smith, chief technology officer for Atlanta-based BellSouth Corp., told reporters and analysts that an Internet service provider such as his firm should be able, for example, to charge Yahoo Inc. for the opportunity to have its search site load faster than that of Google Inc.
Or, Smith said, his company should be allowed to charge a rival voice-over-Internet firm so that its service can operate with the same quality as BellSouth’s offering.
Network operators can identify the digital “packets” of content moving through their wires from sites and services and can block some or put others at the head of the stream.
But Smith was quick to say that Internet service providers should not be able to block or discriminate against Web content or services by degrading their performance.
Rather, he said, a pay-for-performance marketplace should be allowed to develop on top of a baseline service level that all content providers would enjoy.
Executive Wants to Charge for Web Speed