There was public discussion by the telcos and perhaps other broadband providers about trying to charge fees/taxes/tolls to the Googles and Vonages of the world for the high bandwidth usage they directly and indirectly cause.
Om Malik points to a CMP column that quotes a Google PR person, Barry Schnitt, saying:
"Google is not discussing sharing of the costs of broadband networks with any carrier. We believe consumers are already paying to support broadband access to the Internet through subscription fees and, as a result, consumers should have the freedom to use this connection without limitations."
I believe the telcos are not in the "political position" to effectively impose such fees. If they were to succeed, potentially unintended consequences would flow from their actions (i.e., development of alternative access paradigms, including free Wi-Fi).
And Rupert Murdoch recently indicated he's going to push broadband (or WiMAX) to consumers, so his DirecTV service doesn't suffer in the hands of "triple play" competitors (cable, IPTV).
At Drilling Down '06, we'll have a panel on broadband and some of the future scenarios:
The Broadband Juggernaut: Slowing Down or Speeding Up?
High-speed Internet access is the backbone of the new consumer paradigm. It took a decade for broadband to reach "critical mass" in the U.S. Now we are witnessing the disruptive effects for traditional media and potentially for some newer technologies as well. Yet there are predictions that broadband is slowing. But competition, new initiatives and new technologies could drive high-speed access to nearly 100 percent penetration in the next several years. Which version of the future is correct? This panel will debate the potential scenarios and look outside the U.S. to higher-speed markets to see what the U.S. future might hold.