US slaps fine on company blocking VoIP

Vivien M. vivienm at
Sun Mar 6 04:55:21 UTC 2005

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-nanog at [mailto:owner-nanog at] On 
> Behalf Of Robert Blayzor
> Sent: March 4, 2005 9:02 PM
> To: Bill Nash
> Cc: nanog at
> Subject: Re: US slaps fine on company blocking VoIP
> Bill Nash wrote:
> > At the root of it, it's deliberate anti-competitive behavior, and 
> > that's what the fine is for. I'm generally fine to have the 
> government 
> > stay out of the internet as much as possible, but this move was the 
> > correct one, as it was on behalf of the end consumer. It's not the 
> > choice of port blocking that matters, it's the intent.
> Wait a minute, since when is the Internet service I provide 
> regulated by ANY entity?  It's not, therefore I can run the 
> network any way I see fit.  If customers don't like it, they 
> can choose another ISP; if they can't choose another ISP, not 
> my problem, I'm not a regulated entity, you get my service or 
> none at all.
> While I don't run my network with that attitude, I certainlly 
> have the right to.

You do? Since when do you (or any ISP, which is fundamentally a corporation
like any other) have an exemption to antitrust, fair competition, and every
other law regulating business practices?

Just because you don't have a regulator setting prices and/or quality
standards for your product, like you have in all kinds of sectors (ranging
from electricity to automobiles to just about everything), does not mean you
are free to run your business "any way you see fit".

While you're at it, why not say that since you're an unregulated business
that can "run your network any way [you] like", you can prioritize traffic
from customers of one ethnic group rather than another? In most sane
jurisdictions, a court would tell you that everybody using your "Whatever"
service and paying you $Y/month for it must get the same quality of service
whether they have black or white skin.

Would you scream on NANOG about that, too, and claim that your right to run
your network any way you see fit is denied? 

And guess what, to get back to this issue? Ask an antitrust lawyer. If
company A has a quasi-monopoly (or is dominant) in product X, and company A
and B both provide product Y, which requires product X (at least for company
B's product Y to work), and company A deliberately acts to make sure that
company B's product Y cannot work with the product X from company A, they're
eventually going to get in trouble. That's the situation here. You need IP
transit to do VoIP. Some company with a dominant position in IP transit that
also provides phone service is preventing somebody else's VoIP service from
working with their IP transit to product their own phone service business.
That, under most reasonable fair competition statutes, would be prohibited.
"Regulated" industry or not.

(as always, speaking for myself, not any organizations that may appear in
the headers)

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