Google and Verizon CEOs deny that paid prioritization of public Internet services was part of their open broadband principles. The FCC, consumer advocates and Amazon don't like the plan.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Verizon CEO
Ivan Seidenberg vehemently denied brokering a deal for paid prioritization of public
Internet services as part of a media call to outline their companies' plan for
open broadband deployment.
However, the two leaders acknowledged the possibility of managed services trafficking at higher speed on separate pipes, a tiered offering that is alarming consumer advocates who feel public Internet services will be degraded.
The paid prioritization issue was the main concern for reporters on the call
less than a week after the New York Times reported that the Internet company would pay the broadband
provider to speed up Web services such as YouTube.
This report incensed public policy advocates and prompted Federal
Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski to denounce such a plan,
as his agency suspended broadband policy talks with the Internet companies and
Reporters broached the subject of paid prioritization with Schmidt and
Seidenberg several different ways on the Aug. 9 call, which was hastily thrown
together to address what Schmidt called "erroneous" reports about a business deal between Google and Verizon.
"This debate has been hijacked by discussion and issues that are not
reflective of what the company is doing," Seidenberg said, chiding
reporters. "There is no prioritization of traffic that would come from
Google under any circumstance over the Internet. Period."
What is being offered, according to the companies' joint policy plan, is a Web where users control the content,
applications and devices they use without seeing Web services degraded by
broadband service providers that want to discriminate against
If the plan, which is merely a frame of reference for the FCC that sets
broadband policy, comes to pass, Verizon, AT&T and broadband providers must
be clear about their services. This is a transparency provision.
Managed services, such as
3D movie streaming or gaming, could be offered separate from public Internet services currently offered, though Verizon did not announce specific plans for this..
One important point to note is that, with the exception of the transparency
principle, the framework does not apply to wireless networks, which means
wireless carriers can charge variable pricing for different types of content
Google and Verizon believe applying the same rules to wireless networks
would stymie competition and innovation.
Many industry watchers point to Google's cozy relationship with Verizon
Wireless, which is separate from Verizon, as a reason for the exclusion.
Verizon Wireless sells the popular line of Droid smartphones based on
Google's Android operating system. Google wants device development and services
for Android to continue unfettered.