Lobbyists for the Information Technology Industry Council, whose members include Microsoft, Cisco and Oracle, began network neutrality talks after Google and Verizon failed to secure the confidence of businesses and consumers alike.
Days after four Democratic members of Congress expressed concern about
Google and Verizon's broadband proposal, lobbyists took up the cause to create
their own proposal for network neutrality.
The Information Technology Industry Council, a lobbying group that includes
tech companies such as Microsoft, Oracle and Cisco Systems, is holding court to
hash out a new plan, according to the Wall Street Journal
Google and Verizon touched off
a glut of controversy Aug. 9 with their
proposal to 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
The Congress members, and several Internet companies, were also concerned
about the provision for additional online services, which would include a
separate traffic highway for priority content.
They feared this highway would slow traffic for public Internet services.
Google was accused of selling out
Democratic Reps. Edward Markey, Anna Eshoo, Mike Doyle and Jay Inslee wrote in a letter
to Federal Communications Commission
Julius Genachowski that Google and Verizon's "industry centered" net
neutrality policy underscores the need for the FCC to resolve its meetings
regarding the open Internet.
They urged the FCC to facilitate its National Broadband Plan.
While neither Google nor the FCC is involved in the lobbyists' latest
discussions, Verizon is participating, according to the Journal.
"Today's meeting is the first in a series of focused discussions, with
ITI serving as facilitator, aimed at developing Internet openness principles
that can achieve broad cross-sector support," said ITI President Dean
Garfield in a statement.
Network neutrality, or the idea that Web traffic be treated
indiscriminately, has been a major hot-button issue for years, dividing
companies and political party lines with abandon.
Genachowski proposed his National Broadband Plan
earlier this year as a way to facilitate
broadband deployment in underserved rural areas, with an emphasis on making sure
health care clinics and hospitals have speedy Internet access.
His "third way
" proposal offers to treat broadband
providers with common carrier status, giving his office the power to regulate
companies such as Verizon and AT&T to make sure they treat traffic with
The FCC broke off broadband policy talks with Internet companies and
carriers last week after the Google and Verizon controversy ensured.