(Thodey) also called on the ACCC to allow Telstra and other telcos to strike deals that allow preferential broadband speeds for over-the-top players such as Skype and WhatsApp, who are willing to pay a premium. US telecommunications providers AT&T, Verizon and Comcast have all made similar agreements in recent months, and Optus is set to trial such services later this year. But the ACCC has previously been wary of any agreement that allows telecommunications networks to favour one type of content over another.
"If I want to do a special arrangement with Google, then that's a commercial decision I make," Mr Thodey said. "As long as you, the consumer, know that, it should be fine. "I think it'd be fair [if Telstra had a deal with Google that gave its users better mobile network quality than Facebook's] ... because that's a commercial decision."Telecommunications infrastructure has long been regarded as a public utility - especially in Australia with its distributed population that the tempts telcos to only roll out infrastructure in densely populated areas. In the same way that the public are often guaranteed a uniform standard of service regardless of their geography, so too should the public be confident in their choice of content. The internet is, and should be, the level playing field upon which David can slay Goliath. It represents the space where an immature upstart can unseat the incumbent industry champion by simply offering a better, cheaper and/or simpler service.
The ACCC would discourage innovation by allowing Thodey (and in turn, Australian industry) to place commercial considerations above these founding principles. It may be a commercial decision to be made by the owners of infrastructure, but its the same founding principles that allow citizens to drive any make of car down a privately owned toll-road.