from the show-of-hands,-who-is-surprised dept.
1 a bee writes "Ars Technica is running a story by Matthew Lasar about how Disney's ESPN360.com is charging ISPs for 'bulk' access to their content. According to the article, if you visit ESPN using a 'non-subscribing' ISP, you're greeted with a message explaining why access is restricted for you. This raises a number of issues: '... it's one thing to charge users an access fee, another to charge the ISP, potentially passing the cost on to all the ISPs subscribers whether they're interested in the content or not.' Ironically, the issue came to the fore in a complaint from the American Cable Association (ACA) to the FCC. A quoted ACA press release warns, 'Media giants are in the early stages of becoming Internet gatekeepers by requiring broadband providers to pay for their Web-based content and services and include them as part of basic Internet access for all subscribers. These content providers are also preventing subscribers who are interested in the content from independently accessing it on broadband networks of providers that have refused to pay.' So, is this a real threat to net neutrality (and the end-to-end principle) or just another bad business model that doesn't stand a chance?"