Reality Check: Telcos want 'Net toll booths

Ladies and gentleman, buyers and sellers, content providers and users! Take a front row seat, because the final battle for the Internet is about to begin.

On one side will be the telcos, both wireline and wireless, which will attempt to take the Internet out of an access-based business model to a consumption-based business model. On the other side will be the rest of us, business and consumer users alike, who have enjoyed free access and because of it are willing to pay for products and services.

The telco weapon of choice is IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) a service-based delivery mechanism that helps to create more billable consumption. IMS will allow service providers to mix, match, and deliver multimedia services such as IPTV (Internet protocol television), video, VoIP, music, and any other multimedia technology. IMS will offer a single platform to provide new experiences that users will be willing to pay for. And if you subscribe to increased security or VOIP services from Verizon and you log in from a broadband connection whose origination is not on the Verizon network, Verizon will still be able to recognize you as its customer.

Up until now the battle has remained in the shadows, partly because IMS is a complex system and not enough ordinary people have been paying attention to what's going on. But a recent press release issued by Verizon Wireless ( brings it all out into the open -- if you read between the lines, that is.

It is indeed the same old argument. From the telcos' point of view, they have invested billions of dollars for broadband capacity and it has enabled subscribers to do many things. But who is capturing the revenue from these new services? Not the telcos but the individual suppliers.

The telcos want to recapture those revenue streams. In other words, while the likes of Apple and Microsoft are willing to compete on the value of broadband services, the telcos want you to pay for their delivery no matter what value they have.