Google Praises FCC's Third Way for Net Neutrality's Sake

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-05-07 Print this article Print

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's proposal of his "third way" for broadband regulation reform sparked heavily partisan feelings with Republicans giving the framework the thumbs down and Democrats largely applauding it.

The third way broadband framework suggests narrow regulations for broadband providers.

Genachowski said the FCC will recognize the transmission component of broadband access service as a telecommunications service and apply only the six sections of Title II that were believed to be within the FCC's purview for broadband.

The move was booed by Comcast and other Internet access providers as loudly as it was praised by Google, which recently suggested the FCC apply Title II common carrier rules to broadband providers.

Google and other Internet companies viewed the framework as a win for network neutrality, the notion of freeing up applications to run on any device on any providers with impunity, or at least without being choked off by the providers looking to favor some apps over others.

I asked Google for its opinion on the matter May 6 after Genachowski put forth his decree. The company pointed me to this letter, released under the auspices of the Open Internet Coalition, of which it is a member.

Noting that heavy-handed regulation is not the right path, the companies wrote:

We applaud the middle ground approach that you have proposed. We share your belief that this course will create a legally sound, light-touch regulatory framework that benefits consumers, technology companies, and broadband Internet access providers.

This framework will ensure that consumers have access to an open Internet, one that would preserve a level playing field for all participants. And it does so without regulating the Internet but only applying basic rules of the road to the transmission services that provide access to the Internet.

We share your goal of ensuring a healthy ecosystem for all--broadband transmission providers, Internet content and application providers, and consumers. We believe that your narrowly tailored approach is a straightforward way to protect consumers, preserve the fundamental openness of the Internet, and promote the deployment of broadband services. Thank you for your leadership on this crucial issue.

Google was joined by Amazon, eBay and 10 others for the letter, the crux of which is that the companies are thrilled with the chairman's plan, which should federate access to apps such as YouTube, Netflix, Amazon and eBay's vast Websites and others.

No surprises by Google and its Internet brethren then regarding Genachowski's decision, which you can see him discuss in this video:

Of course, the FCC committee must still bless Genachowski's plan. Until then, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and others will stew with dread. They argue this will be bad for investment, that regulation stymies innovation. Do you buy that?

Regulation for those companies by the FCC means fewer restrictions for Google and its fellow Internet companies, which they argue is good for consumers.

What do you think of the third way? Good for Google, bad for ISPs, or just plain good for consumers? |

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