Control to Pay for Capacity?

Save the Internet found a recent quote by new AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson
We’re going to control the video on our network. The content guys will have to make a deal with us.”

AT&T’s New Boss Wants Your World Delivered to Him, Save the Internet, 27 April 2007

Some say this is necessary to pay for infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the same newsletter remarked on Stephenson last year:

BellSouth’s 20,000% iTunes markup

Why the Bells are fighting so hard for Internet tollbooths

Bill Smith of BellSouth wants to charge “five or ten cents” to carry a typical iTunes song, which costs him about 5/100ths of a single cent and dropping. I’m sure Smith was hasn’t thought through actual pricing, but the extreme example he gives shows how much is at stake. Every broadband provider who’s discussed the subject openly has said their costs are going down. That cost figure is carefully researched, including public comments of a major operator, exchange bandwidth costs, and the actual cost figures implicit in presentations of SBC CFO Randall Stephenson. Claims of “bandwidth costs so high we must charge to recover them” are simply lies that make executives look very foolish. Reporters who believe this kind of stuff without demanding factual backup about the real costs are simply not doing their job.

The U.S., unlike China, believes in freedom of speech. Ed Whitacre, Ivan Seidenberg and Mark Fiedler should not determine what you can watch on television as delivery moves to the Internet. State power controls the net in China, and broadband providers with near monopolies are tempted to exercise similar control in Western nations. Mike Powell and Kevin Martin have both declared closing the highspeed Internet unacceptable; we’ll now discover whether the FCC has the courage to enforce their own rules.

News, FutureofTV, October 10, 2006

Maybe AT&T needs the money to pay for executive salaries and the $161 million retirement package former AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre got. It’s not clear they need it to pay for capacity.