Google Says It Is Compromising Not Selling Out
Google disagreed and Google CEO Eric Schmidt on the August 9 media call with reporters was adamant that it would watch Verizon closely to ensure it follows through on its promise not to discriminate. Whitt said that under the policy a broadband provider such as Verizon must comply with the consumer protection and nondiscrimination standards before it could offer such online services as gaming or 3D channels. Moreover, the FCC would monitor any such services and "intervene where necessary."In its defense, Google argued that its proposal is a good thing, giving the FCC the power to preserve the open Internet through enforceable rules on broadband providers. "At the same time, the FCC would be prohibited from imposing regulations on the Internet itself." Ultimately, to the allegation that it has sold out, Whitt pointed to Google's track record of fighting for network neutrality. However, he argued that political realities have made the broadband policy impossible to agree on in Washington. Hence, the compromise with Verizon, which until this year has been one of its staunchest opponents of network neutrality as the FCC defined it. "At this time there are no enforceable protections - at the Federal Communications Commission or anywhere else - against even the worst forms of carrier discrimination against Internet traffic," Whitt wrote. "With that in mind, we decided to partner with a major broadband provider on the best policy solution we could devise together." Call it compromise or sell out, this issue has caused great consternation among not only consumer rights advocates and citizens, some of whom held a protest August 13 at Google's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, but among Internet companies such as Facebook. The leading social network made it clear in a statement to eWEEK that it wants network neutrality for both wireline and wireless networks": "Facebook continues to support principles of net neutrality for both landline and wireless networks. Preserving an open Internet that is accessible to innovators -- regardless of their size or wealth -- will promote a vibrant and competitive marketplace where consumers have ultimate control over the content and services delivered through their Internet connections." Even venture capitalists, who are not known for throwing their hats into the political ring, are arguing that the Google-Verizon proposal impinges the ability for their startups to flourish under the threat of discrimination versus wireless services.
The MDC also decried the suggestion that the FCC only be permitted to have case-by-case adjudication "with Commission deference to third party dispute resolution procedures as the preferred method for resolving potential ISP abuses."