Google Denies Selling Out Network Neutrality with Verizon

Aug 14th, 2010 | By technologynews | Category: Technology
Google Denies Selling Out Network Neutrality with Verizon
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Google denied flouting network neutrality principles
and
selling out in its broadband policy proposal with telecommunications giant Verizon.

The search engine sought to defend itself from attackers
from all corners of the Web who claimed Google was not sticking to strict
principles for an open Internet, which is submitted for the Federal
Communications Commission to consider.

Google and Verizon August 9
unveiled a plan that would prohibit wireline operators from discriminating
against any applications, content and other traffic on the open Internet.

While this is in keeping with network neutrality
principles that call for fair competition for Web content over broadband pipes,
the companies angered some factions because they did not extend these principles
to wireless networks.

Google and Verizon said they did not wish to stifle
innovation in an evolving market. However, member groups of the Media and
Democracy Coalition expressed concern about those issues.

In a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, the MDC
complained that the principles don’t cover wireless networks.

“This could further widen the digital divide,
particularly for those that rely primarily or exclusively on wireless Internet
access, as do many individuals in rural areas, and many low-income consumers,”
the MDC wrote. “It may also create a barrier to entry by independent
creators, entrepreneurs and startups.”

What some call a sell-out, Google called a compromise in
a blog post August 12.

“It’s true that Google previously has advocated for
certain openness safeguards to be applied in a similar fashion to what would be
applied to wireline services,”
wrote Richard Whitt, Google’s telecom counsel in Washington.

“However, in the spirit of compromise, we have
agreed to a proposal that allows this market to remain free from regulation for
now, while Congress keeps a watchful eye.”

Also bothering the MDC and others is the idea that
Verizon and carriers could create a faster traffic lane for additional online
services that would not be part of the public Internet.

To many Web watchers, this two-tiered service delivery
model segregates the public Internet. The widely-held belief is that the
Internet is public and any attempts to separate services and prioritize them
with faster traffic flies in the face of the open Web.

The MDC said Verizon’s definition of “additional
online services” is so broad, “it could easily lead to another form
of paid prioritization of Internet content and other types of unreasonable
discrimination, which is inconsistent with the concept of an open Internet.”

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