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Google, net neutrality evangelist, hedges in accord with Verizon

Our take in the paper Tuesday on the Google-Verizon agreement, and what it says about Google's journey on net neutrality:

By Cecilia Kang
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Google has long presented itself as looking out for the little guy. It easily could have used its wealth and power to gain preferential treatment from Internet providers but always said it would not, because that could prevent the next startup in a Silicon Valley garage from enjoying similar success.

But as Google has gotten bigger and entered new lines of business, it has revised some of its principles -- and it is drawing criticism from startups and public interest groups along the way.

Google and Verizon Communications on Monday confirmed that they've put aside their differences and agreed that rules ensuring equal access to the Internet shouldn't apply to mobile phones. They said a company like Google also could strike a deal to pay for more capacity on a carrier's network for zippier downloads of their own sites over those of competitors.

That means Verizon could block an application such as Microsoft's Bing search service from its subscribers' mobile phones, or it could charge consumers extra for access to certain popular applications delivered at better quality than other Web sites.

Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said in a conference call with news media that while Google has agreed to these changes in principle, the firm wouldn't actually pay for preferential treatment on land-based broadband networks. He said Google would only operate on the "public Internet" that is accessed by any user, and that it would not cut special deals to deliver YouTube or other services to fixed-wire consumers at a higher rate.

read here for full story.

By Cecilia Kang  |  August 10, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Broadband , FCC , Google , Net Neutrality , Verizon  
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