The tech blogging world is in full panic mode today following a spate of reports
revealing that Google and Verizon are conspiring to kill net neutrality
The principle that Internet providers shouldn't be able to favor some
Web content over others is sacred to net neutrality advocates. They fear
that without certain restriction on Internet providers, the Web could
one day mirror cable television, where providers charge higher costs for
premium levels of service. According to The New York Times, that's
precisely what Verizon and Google want to do:
Google and Verizon... are nearing an
agreement that could allow Verizon to speed some online content to
Internet users more quickly if the content’s creators are willing to pay
for the privilege.
The charges could be paid by companies, like YouTube,
owned by Google, for example, to Verizon, one of the nation’s leading
Internet service providers, to ensure that its content received priority
as it made its way to consumers. The agreement could eventually lead to
higher charges for Internet users... Consumers could soon see a new, tiered system, which, like cable
television, imposes higher costs for premium levels of service.
The news comes as a shock to many, since Google has long portrayed itself as an avid defender of net neutrality. Interestingly, Google and Verizon both say the Times article is "simply wrong." Who are we to believe?
- This Could Kill Net Neutrality, writes Jared Newman at PC World: "If Google and Verizon really are conspiring to kill Net neutrality,
as several reports suggest, both companies would bruise their
reputations in the process...The New York Times' version is the most
terrifying, claiming that Internet companies, such as Google, would be
able to pay a fee to Verizon for faster delivery speeds on services like
YouTube. If Verizon extended these kinds of deals to other companies,
consumers could choose to pay more for these faster services in a
premium package, says the Times."
- Other Scary News Preston Gralla
at Computer World, writes: "We'll all be worse off if this deal goes
through. Competition will be hurt and innovation will suffer. The New
York Times also warns that if net neutrality falls by the wayside,
'Consumers could also see continually rising bills for Internet service,
much as they have for cable television.'"
- Don't Believe the New York Times, insists a Google spokeswoman speaking to PC magazine: "The New York Times
is quite simply wrong. We have not had any conversations with Verizon
about paying for carriage of Google traffic. We remain as committed as
we always have been to an open Internet." David Fish,
speaking on behalf of Verizon Wireless concurs: "The NYT article
regarding conversations between Google and Verizon is mistaken. It
fundamentally misunderstands our purpose. As we said in our earlier FCC
filing, our goal is an Internet policy framework that ensures openness
and accountability, and incorporates specific FCC authority, while
maintaining investment and innovation. To suggest this is a business
arrangement between our companies is entirely incorrect."
- Don't Believe Google, counters Steve Titch
at the Technology Liberation Front: "Google’s public policy side has
been left out of the loop before, so let’s take that denial with a grain
of salt. The Times and the Journal seem to have enough detail to
suggest this is not something made up out of whole cloth."
- Let's Wait and Let the Cards Fall, writes Rosa Golijan
at Gizmodo: "Even if Verizon and Google come to such an odd agreement,
they'll still have to deal with the FCC before anything can happen, so
let's not panic just yet."
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