Google, Verizon Net Neutrality Plans Are Announced

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2010-08-09 Print this article Print

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Both companies shared a vision of what they referred to as "the formulation of an enlightened, sustainable Internet policy for the United States," in a January 2010 filing with the FCC. In that filing, the companies stressed the necessity of preserving openness, encouraging investment, providing users with control and information, and keeping applications, content and services free from regulation. The filing also suggested an important role for TAGs (technical advisory groups) for developing best practices, dispute resolution and coordination with standards-setting bodies.

In the Aug. 9 joint policy proposal, which was published simultaneously with the press conference, Google and Verizon pointed out that both companies have long been proponents of the FCC's current wire-line broadband openness policies, and stated that they believe it's critical to ensure that consumers have access to all legal content.

In addition, the joint statement called for new, enforceable prohibitions against discriminatory practices that would harm consumers or provide harm to competition. The statement said broadband providers should not be able to favor particular Internet traffic over other traffic.

The two companies also called for consumers to be fully informed about their Internet experiences, and said providers should give consumers clear, understandable information about the services they offer and their capabilities.

The proposal also asks for new enforcement provisions for the FCC following the Comcast decision. Enforcement would be handled on a case-by-case basis, and would include fines of up to $2 million dollars. The proposal does not specify what sort of legal or legislative framework would give this power to the FCC.

Other items in the proposal call for support for innovation, a special process in which the Government Accountability Office would produce updates on wireless technology to Congress annually, and support for the reform of the federal Universal Service Fund to better support broadband deployment to rural areas.

The goal of the policy proposal, according to Schmidt, is to ensure that the Internet remains open and available for innovation. Rejecting suggestions that Google is planning a suite of premium services for extra pay, he said, "Google is dependent on the open Internet." Schmidt added that Google could never have achieved the place it now occupies without it, and he said he thinks it's critical for the next Google or the next YouTube to have as good a chance of success as his company has had.

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazineÔÇÖs Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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