AT&T chief Ed Whitacre handed the keys over to his replacement Randall Stephenson yesterday, but not before giving a rousing pep talk to fellow executives in the company's San Antonio board room. We just received exclusive video of the AT&T chairman's parting speech.
"There's a problem. It's called Net Neutrality," Whitacre told the heirs to AT&T's telecommunications empire. "Well, frankly, we say to hell with that. We're gonna put up some toll booths and start charging admission."This statement echoes those made in the press by Whitacre and Stephenson over the last two years.
Despite claims of poverty whenever pressed to offer better services, these AT&T execs are privately gloating over more than $35 billion in gross profits over the last 12 months. Moreover, Whitacre (and now Stephenson) are pressuring Congress to allow them to provide privileged Web access to their customers to companies that pay them a special fee.
"Will Congress let us do it?" Whitacre asks his colleagues. "You bet they will - cuz we don't call it cashin' in. We call it ‘deregulation.' "
By Nicole Belle — June 4, 2007