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Where's Google on net neutrality, FCC role?

In the past week, Google has been noticeably absent from a growing debate about the future of a net neutrality policy being proposed by the Federal Communications Commission and the agency’s role over broadband services.

Last week, a company spokesperson declined to comment on how it believes the FCC should proceed after a federal court threw the commission’s role over broadband services into doubt. Google has been a leading corporate advocate of net neutrality rules at the FCC.

The company is expected to say more over the following days but has in recent weeks sent mixed messages. On the one hand, media counsel Rick Whitt told the FCC’s general counsel, Austin Schlick, that the agency needed to “build a complete legal and evidentiary record to confirm the agency’s oversight authority, whether under Title I, Title II, Title VI, or other pertinent provisions.”

But in an ex parte filed with the commission on the March 22 meeting, Google doesn’t go so far as to say it believes the agency should classify broadband as telecommunications service – a position public interest groups and President Obama’s former economic adviser are advocating.

Google instead has sent some mixed messages. Chief executive Eric Schmidt co-penned an op-ed with Verizon chief executive Ivan Seidenberg in the Wall Street Journal, calling for light regulation from the FCC as it carries out its national broadband plan.

The company is expected to weigh in more on the topic, and probably will go into detail in a filing on net neutrality about its thoughts on regulatory authority at the FCC over broadband.

By Cecilia Kang  |  April 12, 2010; 12:15 PM ET
Categories:  AT&T , Broadband , Comcast , FCC , Google , Verizon  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: My Q&A with former FCC chair Powell on how he hates reclassification -- the name and the idea
Next: Economic experts warn against net neutrality rule in Verizon-funded study


While Cecelia Kang, "Google's reporter at the Post," claims that Google has been mute on this issue, this claim is patently false. Google's captive lobbying groups inside the Beltway -- including Free Press, Public Knowledge, Media Access Project, and the New America Foundation (this last group funded by Google and chaired by Google CEO Eric Schmidt) have been very active indeed -- pushing hard for reclassification of broadband services under the stifling and inappropriate regime of Title II of the Telecommunications Act. Google has been letting these sham "public interest" groups -- which really work for it and not for the public interest -- do the talking. Other Google surrogates, including law professor Susan Crawford (for whom Google secured a post in the White House), have likewise been doing Google's work, so that it can pretend to be making nice with companies like Verizon.

The truth of the matter is that Google wants control of the future of the Net, and wants to see ISPs completely hamstrung so that they have no power to influence that future. And Ms. Kang, much of whose paycheck is supplied by Google, is promoting that agenda.

Posted by: LBrettGlass | April 12, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Brett, give it up.

Your grand conspiracy thesis is so tired. So what if public interest groups have similar thoughts on a single issue as Google does? Harold Feld yelling at the FCC to do something isn't the same as Eric Schmidt calling up the chairman.

But to continually accuse this blog of working for Google is just plain ol' stupid. Really. Company A places an ad on this blog via Company B. The financial interests of potential corruption lie not in company B, but the company who purchases the advertising.

That aside, as stupid as your theory was, it isn't even operative anymore. Look up at one of the ads. See the "Buy a Link Here" button? Takes you to the WaPo, not Google.

Folks, if you've been reading Brett's rantings here, you are slowly learning why the allegations about him allegedly stalking a reporter and other alleged allegations about shady activities with children are likely allegedly true. His mental illness is on display for everyone. Hopeful the judge in his alleged case is reading.

Posted by: AmyBandini | April 12, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

The comment above from "AmyBandini" demonstrates that (a) he or she is familiar with the names of Google's lobbyists in DC, and is therefore either Ms. Kang herself or a confederate; and (b) that there is no level to which DC lobbyists will not stoop to try to disparage someone who reveals what's really going on. (They'll even claim that you're a violent psychotic, a stalker, or a child molester.)

My comments stand.

Posted by: LBrettGlass | April 12, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Brett says, "is therefore either Ms. Kang herself or a confederate."

See Brett, this is the problem which lead me to highlight the allegations about you. That you still fail to see the irony is telling.

You have zero evidence to suggest that I am anyone other than who I sign as, or that I am in fact Cecila Kang herself. Yet you have no problem leveling such an accusation with certainty. But when allegations are levied against you based on similar evidence, you hit the panic button, and all of a sudden get the concept of "slander."

For the record folks, I am a retired Grandmother who used to work in this industry. I named dropped Harold b/c his blog is well-read by most of us armchair wonks... not because I am a lobbyist, not because I am Mrs. Kang, and not because I even know any of these people. I do know all about the alleged allegations against Brett, so, you know, lock your children away.

Posted by: AmyBandini | April 12, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that the only child who really should be locked away is the one who wrote the comment just above.

Posted by: LBrettGlass | April 12, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: LBrettGlass

"wants to see ISPs completely hamstrung so that they have no power to influence that future."

Do you know what an ISP is? It is an "Internet Service Provider". They "provide Internet service". That's it. They are the Internet equivalent of the water and sewer department.

And you also know NOTHING about the Internet. The major players like Comcast are ALREADY members of the Internet Society and they ALREADY play a role in developing future standards.

Of couse you have no clue what "Network Neutrality" really means, so here it is:

"Network Neutrality" means adherence to the Internet Standards as are universally agreed upon by the Internet Society. The standards are laid out in documents called RFCs.

Those who oppose "Network Neutrality" want to violate the Internet Society RFC documents.

They want to program their routers in such a manner that they are not "Internet Service Providers" any more, because they will NOT deliver the Internet to you.

They will deliver a distorted version of the Internet where some sites get "premium" bandwidth and others are blocked completely. They get to choose which sites get blocked and which get through. It is censorship pure and simple.

The government grants monopoly status to telecommunications providers (what is the point in multiple cables on the pole and multiple trenches everywhere?) and in exchange for that monopoly status, they agree to submit to regulation. The government and the telecom industry have been operating happily under this agreement for many years.

Posted by: frantaylor | April 13, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

"The truth of the matter is that Google wants control of the future of the Net, and wants to see ISPs completely hamstrung so that they have no power to influence that future."

The ISPs are and should be "dumb pipes".

As soon as they give everybody high speed internet access for free, then they can start complaining about Google not paying them.


Brett, you should be ashamed of your astroturfing here at the WaPo. I hope somebody is paying you well for who.ring our future to the likes of the ISP, who are no better than used car salesmen and con-men.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | April 13, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Spoken like a true CEO: no problems with the tax payers stepping and subsidizing the expansion of their market but when they start asking for pro public regulations at the expense of their bottom lines-- Nooo way!! That's stepping over the line.

Posted by: dep05 | April 13, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Brett's right about Google. They're all over net neutrality via "public interest" groups. Cecilia Kang's article is disingenuous to the point of being deceptive.

If this passes, get ready for a regulatory Cold War ("search" neutrality, anyone?) where the clear losers are customers and innovation.

Posted by: millionea7 | April 13, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse


lots of terrible things you see.

"Net Neutrality" is what we have right now. It's what Comcast and other ISPs want to change.

Google is just another company looking to make a buck. But the way they do it closer to consumers best interest.

Certainly ISPs hate their own customers. They only tolerate them because we send them checks every month.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | April 13, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I am a big fan of Google, but I think that their new-found "friends" helping them sell Android phones (Verizon et al)have caused Google to be more quiet on net neutrality than they have been in the past.

Posted by: jaepstein63 | April 13, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

"Ombudsman1" certainly doesn't sound like much of an impartial ombudsman to me. In fact, he sounds rather hateful toward ISPs.

Well, I have news for him: My customers love me and the service I provide. Being an ISP is a very difficult job, but I love it because it involves conquering the obstacles of time, space and distance. It's just a shame that it also involves conquering the obstacles of corporate DC lobbyists and the regulations that they are trying to use to destroy my business and harm my customers.

Posted by: LBrettGlass | April 13, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

If Verizon and Comcast start charging Google access fees for preferred data handling, they risk Google getting serious about putting fiber in the ground.

Posted by: staticvars | April 13, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, you go Brett! Tell it to them preacher! Those liberal crypto fascists marxist hippies on this thread don't know how hard it is for Brett to run his business. Every day he's out there spending an hour or two collecting his payments and checking on his wifi gear, and now because of the Obama socialists he has to spend the rest of his day on these message boards fighting this "slanted" (haha LOL Brett, saw that on another thread) coverage and all these scumbag socialist fascists who want Obamacare for the net. No way you hippies! Go back to Africa with your foreign hawaiian-born president.

Posted by: Darcelle_Jones | April 13, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Hey LBrettGlass:

What level of service do you provide?

What kind of router do you use?

Who do you peer with?

What is your favorite DNS server software?

Do you use PPPoE or do you just match MAC addresses?

What brand of pitchfork do you use to conquer the obstacles of corporate DC lobbyists?

Posted by: frantaylor | April 14, 2010 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Google is probably quiet for now because it is actually researching and analyzing the best approach – which is something the FCC needs to do. A look at some of the FCC’s actions in the past and their negative long-term effects is proof that they need to take careful consideration of any decision they make. I hope the FCC does a serious and thorough analysis of any decision it makes in the future, should it be given jurisdiction to regulate.

Posted by: Stac77 | April 17, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

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