Google, Verizon Net Neutrality Proposal Is 'Socially Irresponsible': Analyst

Strand Consult offers an analysis of Google and Verizon's net neutrality proposal to the FCC. Strand calls Google a company with deep pockets but short arms.

Executives from Google and Verizon introduced a joint proposal for an "open Internet" Aug. 9, and called on the Federal Communications Commission to create rules that will ensure an open Internet and penalize "bad actors" that violate such "safeguards."

The same day, analysts with Copenhagen-based consultancy Strand Consult released an analysis of Google's position on net neutrality, which they characterize as Google "prioritizing [its] profitability higher than [its] social responsibility."

The analysis frames the debate as consisting, on one side, of Internet providers that want to prioritize the types of data traffic network products they sell to customers and, on the other side, of Google (aligned with Verizon), which wants operators to "provide a uniform connection regardless of the type of service being used."

Essentially, states the Strand analysis, Google is portraying itself as a defender of liberty on the Internet and operators as companies trying to limit online freedom. The analysis goes on to describe the vital importance of Internet access within modern society, and so also of companies willing to investment in network infrastructure-which Google has no intention of doing.

"The Internet is like a motorway, at certain times there will be more traffic than the motorway can handle," states the analysis. "But according to Google, it should not be possible for providers to sell access to a fast lane and Telcos should be allowed to prioritize their own services higher than, for example, Google services."

The Strand analysis continues:

""Google believes that all consumers should experience the same performance, thereby in reality abolishing queues on the motorway, abolishing differentiated pricing being used today in the airline industry, abolishing business class and in effect selling tickets to cinemas, concerts and sporting events at the same price, regardless of where the customer is sitting or whether they are receiving extra services during the event. "In reality Google wants to abolish the concept of differentiated pricing for different types of services and by talking about net-neutrality, Google is in reality misusing the sacred name of democracy as the foundation of their standpoint.""

The Strand analysts additionally propose a set of questions to Google, offering a bit more perspective on the issue. One, for example, questions whether all Google advertisers pay the same fee, or if some pay extra for better exposure.

In closing, "Google looks like a man with deep pockets and short arms, someone we often meet in town and who suddenly disappears when the waiter brings the bill," states the Strand analysis. "In our opinion, Google has double morals regarding this issue and their social understanding and responsibility towards our future society is almost non-existent."

The public, of course, can decide for itself, as Google has posted its position quite clearly, with seven key elements highlighted. In crafting their framework, the Google and Verizon executives emphasized, they were guided by two mail goals. First, that users should choose what content, applications or devices they use, since openness is imperative, and second, that the United States must continue to encourage investment and innovation in broadband infrastructure, as "it is imperative for our global competitiveness."