That prospect is the worst nightmare of Internet stars such as Google (GOOG) , Amazon (AMZN), and eBay (EBAY). They’re gearing up for a clash with the phone and cable giants early next year as Congress begins to redraft the telecom laws for the broadband era. The Internet gang fears that unless they get lawmakers to intervene, the network operators will soon be able to put a chokehold on the Web. “The issue is about the future of the Internet,” says Alan Davidson, Google’s Washington policy counsel.
How bad could it get?
The network operators could block consumers from popular sites such as Google, Amazon, or Yahoo! (YHOO) in favor of their own. Or they could degrade delivery of Web pages whose providers don’t pay extra. Google’s home page, for instance, might load at a creep, while a search engine backed by the network company would zip along…a phone company could tell Google or another independent Web service that it must pay extra to ensure speedy, reliable service.
Could this be the reason Google is buying up all that “dark-fiber“?