Google Battles Broadband Provider Fee - Yahoo! News
Now I think we need to make 2 things clear:
1) As pointed out, as a consumer we pay for broadband.
2) Although NOT pointed out, companies like Google, Yahoo, etc. also pay for connectivity. AT&T, Verizon, etc do not let them hook up for free. I'm not sure about Vonage or Skype.
However, the problem is that broadband is changing how people do business. Skype and Vonage make it cheaper (and in some cases free) than having long distance even on your cell plan. In fact I just heard one guy on a podcast say his roaming in India was something like $4/minute for his cell. Skype was something like $.05/minute. Phone cards even have trouble at those prices.
DVD, iTunes, and Netflix (and similar companies) are changing the way we use cable. I recently cut back on my cable because it is cheaper for me to buy the shows I watched on a regular basis through iTunes or on DVD than to pay the amount they were asking for those channels.
Much like the music industry and now the movie industry, phone & cable companies are going to have to learn to change. Time Warner, at least here in Akron, offer bundles of cable, broadband & internet phone. They are adapting. AT&T needs to adapt also. DSL needs to get faster, cheaper, or ideally both. Can you beat the cost of Time Warner when bundling phone & internet service? Can you even cover all of Akron so *I* could even have the choice of AT&T?
I was listening to a podcast on the way in that made a good point - the lines between computer & TV are blurring. That has been true for music for some time, and is becoming true for phone service. "Old-timers" in these industries are going to have to learn to adapt or go the way of the dinosaurs.