The Truth About Google, Verizon and Net Neutrality

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

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Verizon, for its part, is also denying any sort of business deal with Google. More likely the two companies are hammering out a way to provide the priority some streaming traffic needs while remaining within the bounds of net neutrality. As eWEEK Senior Staff Writer Clint Boulton mentions in his story about the supposed Google-Verizon deal, both companies deny that anything nefarious is going on.

In fact, there's little to be gained by either company in setting up some sort of exclusive deal for Verizon to deliver Google's traffic in preference to other traffic. It would cost Verizon more money, and it's hard to see how the company would benefit. Google, meanwhile, doesn't really need more than it has now in terms of delivery, although it would probably help YouTube's video quality to get the video stream delivered reliably. But this is true for every ISP, not just Verizon, so setting up a deal just with Verizon wouldn't really help Google, either.

Instead, what will come out of the net neutrality discussions between the companies is an agreement in principle that network providers should be allowed to honor the priorities set for streaming traffic, as long as they do it for everybody. This doesn't give YouTube any kind of benefit over another video provider-after all, setting QOS levels on video or voice packets is hardly rocket science, and it doesn't take anything special in terms of equipment or software. All that's really required is a general agreement that it's OK, and for network providers to provision their routers to honor the priority settings.

So how did The New York Times manage to make this into a threat to net neutrality? It appears that the reporter was swayed by a single advocacy group, Public Knowledge. The group's claims regarding net neutrality have always been at the extreme end of the hard line, and the quotes in the Times article are no exception.

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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