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AT&T boss warns on bandwidth

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The boss of AT&T yesterday warned content companies they might have to pay for access to broadband networks.

AT&T chairman and chief executive Ed Whitacre told the FT: "I think the content providers should be paying for the use of the network - obviously not the piece for the customer to the network, which has already been paid for by the customer in internet access fees, but for accessing the so-called internet cloud."

Several US telcos have made similar noises recently. BellSouth recently said companies like Google should pay for access to its broadband network. Google made clear it was not prepared to discuss such charges with any carrier because consumers are already paying for the network in monthly subscription charges.

Other telcos have raised the possibility of charging companies with more bandwidth-heavy applications such as movie streaming.

Whitacre told the paper: "If someone wants to transmit a high quality service with no interruptions and ‘guaranteed this, guaranteed that’, they should be willing to pay for that." ®

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