Monday, August 9, 2010

Slow strangling of the Internet by Google and Verizon...and others

Yes, Google and Verizon and others like AT&T's metering concept. No matter how one looks at the Internet, it is slowly being manipulated, controlled...and strangled for the sake of money. One of the greatest revolutions of communication will be inaccessible by many.

"Google and Verizon Offer Vision on Internet Traffic"


Claire Cain Miller and Muguel Helft

August 9th, 2010

The New York Times

Google and Verizon on Monday introduced a proposal for how Internet service should be regulated — and were immediately criticized by groups that favor keeping the network as open as possible.

The proposal says Internet providers should treat all providers of Internet content the same, and should not be able to block them or offer them a paid “fast lane.” It says the Federal Communications Commission should have the authority to stop or fine those who break the rules.

But the proposal includes exceptions for wireless Internet access and for potential new services that broadband providers could offer, including things like “advanced educational services, or new entertainment and gaming options.”

The announcement is the latest move in a high-stakes battle over a principle known as net neutrality. The debate is over whether Internet users should be able to access all types of online information on an equal basis, or whether Internet service providers should be able to charge content companies for faster transmission.

Freedom from such discrimination is crucial for consumers and for fostering innovation among Internet entrepreneurs, said Eric E. Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, in a conference call with reporters. “The next two people in a garage really do need an open Internet,” he said.

Ivan Seidenberg, chief executive of Verizon, said the proposal excluded wireless because the companies were “concerned about the imposition of too many rules upfront that would not allow us to optimize this network in a fashion that would supercharge the growth we’ve seen in the past.”

But Gigi B. Sohn, president of Public Knowledge, a consumer group, said that by excluding wireless access, a fast-growing portion of Internet traffic, the proposal “sacrifices the future of the mobile wireless Internet as this platform becomes more central to the lives of all Americans.”

The proposal also excludes other online services that broadband providers might create in the future. These new online services could include services for entertainment or healthcare monitoring, the companies said.

Google and Verizon said that such new online services would have to be “distinguishable from traditional broadband Internet access services and are not designed to circumvent the rules,” and that the F.C.C. would monitor their development.

Mr. Schmidt said Google had no plans to develop these other types of online services. “We love the Internet and we have no intention of doing anything other than the Internet,” he said.

But some in the industry expressed fears that this loophole could open up a way for companies to bypass net neutrality rules. For example, an online video start-up could create an alternate service to YouTube that did not run on the public Internet and pay for faster connections to viewers.

Jason Hirschhorn, a former president of MySpace and a former executive at MTV Networks, said more questions needed to be answered, since the exceptions for new services could be interpreted as “just another way of going against net neutrality.”

“Imagine a world where ABC, Comedy Central, MTV, any of these brands were on some other network, and then there was this open Internet,” he said. “It almost smacks of haves and have-not’s.”

Google and Verizon stressed that their plan was not a business deal, but a joint policy proposal that both companies intend to follow and which they want the Federal Communications Commission to review. The F.C.C., which since June had been convening meetings of Internet companies, carriers and public interest groups to try to come to an agreement on net neutrality, called off the talks last week after reports that Google and Verizon had come to a private agreement.

Jen Howard, a spokeswoman for the F.C.C., said the agency would not immediately comment on the proposal.

“Any outcome, any deal that doesn’t preserve the freedom and openness of the Internet for consumers and entrepreneurs will be unacceptable,” Julius Genachowski, the F.C.C. chairman, told reporters last week.

"Net Neutrality"...Google and Version

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