Amid fears that Google and Verizon are conspiring to kill net neutrality, CEOs Eric Schmidt and Ivan Seidenberg summarize the joint Verizon-Google proposal in lay-reader-friendly terms in Tuesday's Washington Post. Here are the crucial elements:
HOW PRINCIPLES OF OPENNESS SHOULD AFFECT WIRELINE BROADBAND
Consumers also should be able to access the Internet free from discrimination that is harmful to users or competition. Our proposed policy presumes that prioritization of Internet traffic--such as slowing down delivery of one video file so another's arrives more quickly--is harmful. ... But Internet service providers should also have a fair amount of flexibility to manage their networks and the opportunity to provide additional services--such as telework applications, health monitoring services or optimized gaming--so long as these services do not affect consumers' ability to simply access their favorite sites.
WHY WIRELESS IS DIFFERENT
With respect to wireless broadband networks, we agree that the rapidly evolving wireless Internet is a different kind of network, with unique technical and operational challenges, demanding different consideration than wireline networks. ... This nascent marketplace for wireless broadband should be allowed to develop further before applying a new set of rules. That said, we believe that wireless providers should be fully transparent about their practices, and Congress should regularly evaluate the state of the wireless market to protect consumers' interests.
HOW BAD BEHAVIOR SHOULD BE PUNISHED
Since the April court ruling that questioned the FCC's right to penalize Comcast for slowing Internet traffic, the FCC's authority over broadband service providers has been unclear. Our policy proposal spells out clear FCC authority for enforcement against bad actors. We propose a case-by-case adjudication model for determining harm to users or competition.
WHY THIS IS THE RIGHT WAY TO GO
We believe this public policy framework empowers an informed consumer, ensures the robust growth of the open Internet and provides incentives to strengthen the networks that carry Internet traffic.