- AOL has struck up a deal with Clearwire to co-brand its wireless broadband system (which uses licensed frequencies, as opposed to WiFi). Clearwire, which is slower than DSL and is only in select markets, is the first broadband provider to link-up with AOL in this way.
- Google’s San Francisco Deal, and its wealth of dark fiber, give it a chance to quickly launch its own networks should it decide it needs to.
Notice who is missing from this? And now you know why the rumors of Microsoft buying part of Yahoo make some sense.
What does this mean, though?
I think it means that no telco system that tries to violate net neutrality will succeed in the real world.
Only a few large Web sites have got the money and market power and incentive to strike up a deal favoring their content over others. Nearly all those companies are now building their own networks, which would bypass any "blackmail" regime.
A truly-neutral network will have a major competitive advantage in this environment, and since the telcos risk losing not just DSL customers — but telephone customers — should people abandon them for violating net neutrality, the prediction here is that they won’t.
But we should still guarantee no one does.