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FCC stops closed-door Internet policy meetings as Google, Verizon strike side deal

Under criticism for its handing of closed-door discussions with certain companies on broadband policy, the Federal Communications Commission announced Thursday the meetings with Verizon, AT&T, Google and Skype were unsuccessful and that it would stop holding them.

The announcement comes amid an apparent agreement between Verizon and Google on so-called net neutrality ground rules that would allow certain prioritization of Web sites on fixed wire networks and no rules on wireless networks. Sources familiar with the discussions at the FCC said reports Wednesday of a deal between Verizon and Google on net neutrality upset participants in the meeting, who were moving closer to agreement on stronger rules against blocking and slowing traffic on wireless and fixed-wire networks.

“We have called off this round of stakeholder discussions," said Eddie Lazarus, the chief of staff to the chairman of the FCC. "It has been productive on several fronts, but has not generated a robust framework to preserve the openness and freedom of the Internet – one that drives innovation, investment, free speech, and consumer choice. All options remain on the table as we continue to seek broad input on this vital issue.”

The agency has been holding the meetings to reach a consensus among giant telecom, cable, and Internet content firms on how carriers can manage traffic in a way that doesn't unfairly squash competition by slowing access to some Web sites over others.

AT&T senior executive vice president Jim Cicconi said in a statement:

“We are disappointed that the net neutrality talks convened by the FCC have broken down . . . we put a number of significant concessions on the table and, despite today’s setback, remain convinced that a consensus solution can be achieved.”

Industry watchers said a break down in negotiations means it will be harder convince lawmakers to introduce legislation with significant disagreements still separating network operators and Web content firms.

As reported, the agency has had more than seven sessions of meetings with those companies.

By Cecilia Kang  |  August 5, 2010; 3:35 PM ET
 
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AT&T senior executive vice president Jim Cicconi said in a statement:

“We are disappointed that the net neutrality talks convened by the FCC have broken down . . . we put a number of significant concessions on the table and, despite today’s setback, remain convinced that a consensus solution can be achieved.”

"To Serve Man"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_Serve_Man_%28The_Twilight_Zone%29

Posted by: gannon_dick | August 5, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

concessions? why would concessions need to be made? This is not difficult.. One side says "every packet (chunk of information) is equal" and the bad guys say "some packets are more equal than others".

The folks that side with Napoleon the Pig generally are companies that like to tout an "unlimited" service and then whine when people use it as advertised. I feel sorry for all the poor napoleons that promise an unlimited service but fail to deliver. If a company cannot deliver the sizzle that they sold, they don't have the right to change the rules or rewrite the contracts do they? No, they should be fined for contractual breaches, or the invisible hands holding the smart phones should look elsewhere for an ISP.

Putting this in simple clear terms, how would you like it if GM licensed a public road (built with taxpayer funds) from the government, charged the same toll per car, but said... "Fords and Chryslers must go 55mph or less, but if you are in a GM, you can go 80 mph." ? All cars are equal.. but some are more equal than others.

Posted by: Jeff_chi | August 5, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

I have sued Google and seek to add the FCC for misfeasance and not regulating communications by wire.
It makes the Verizon Google talk irrelevant or less.
5:09-cv-05151

Posted by: curtis4 | August 6, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

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