Google, Verizon CEOs announce pact for no wireless net neutrality rules, some paid prioritization
Summary: Google chief executive Eric Schmidt and Verizon chief executive Ivan Seidenberg announced a joint agreement on how traffic can be controlled on the Internet. Here's the joint policy statement on Google and Verizon's Web sites.
In short: What you've read so far about the deal is true:
1) No net neutrality rules for mobile networks, except for a "transparency" requirement that makes public how traffic is managed.
2) A green light on "managed services" that would allow for special priority for some content on other parts of the pipe, but not the public Internet.
The companies also proposed that the Federal Communications Commission act as a copy for bad actors. The agency, the companies suggested, would investigate complaints of companies that block traffic or unfairly prioritize traffic on the public Internet on a case by case basis. Wrongdoers could be fined as much as $2 million.
This is not going to be a popular announcement among advocates of net neutrality, particularly public interest groups. Google said it doesn't want to play in the sandbox of managed service. "We like the public Internet," Schmidt said in the call. But some say this will give an unfair advantage to companies that are able to pay for priority access (imagine a Netflix channel on FiOs offered at better quality).
2:08 EDT: Schmidt and Seideberg say they have talked to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, and that agency said it is reviewing the policy statement.
Q: What about the process of this deal?
A: Schmidt wants to make sure everyone knows it's not a "deal."
Seidenberg said Verizon has reached out to other carriers.
Schmidt wants to make clear that no deals were cut with Verizon on prioritization and says he doesn't want to do managed services. He's happy with the public Internet, he says: "We love the Internet and don't have any intention of doing anything but the Internet."
Q: Would managed services allow for Google to pay for YouTube at better quality or speed?
A: Both Seidenberg and Schmidt talk about how this wouldn't happen on an open Internet. Seidenberg says: "This is where some of these conspiracy theories get started. No prioritization would come from Google over the Internet."
But "if Google has a thought that it wants to bundle certain capabilities that have different features, and those requirements were transparent to everyone and measurable, that is one that would be permitted. But it has to be differentiated from the public Internet. "It can’t be perceived as working around it," Seidenberg says.
1:44 EDT: Seidenberg about rules on wireless: There should be none, except "transparency."
"What we’re concerned about is the imposition of too many rules up front that would not allow us to optimize in a fashion the super-charged growth we’ve seen in the past," he says.
Seidenberg also talks about managed services, ruling out prioritization on the public Internet but saying there could be paid prioritization of Web sites on another capacity of "pipe."
"We want to make sure broadband infrastructure becomes a real quality platform for real innovation and growth," he says.
1:42 EDT: Schmidt: no word of how their proposal would apply to the wireless industry (Post Tech has written that such rules wouldn't apply and mobile space would remain unregulated).
1:40 EDT: Schmidt: Both companies believe that wireline net neutrality should proceed, with the FCC having case-by-case authority to be the watchdog of bad actors on net neutrality and able to fine up to $2 million.
Schmidt says news reports of last week on the Google-Verizon deal were "extremely wrong."
1:39 EDT: Schmidt: The basic goal is to find "common ground." We are "extremely dependent upon each other."
Google chief executive Eric Schmidt and Verizon Communications chief executive Ivan Seidenberg will announce a broad agreement Monday afternoon on how traffic is controlled on Internet networks. And we're live-blogging it at Post Tech.
The agreement is intended to be a blueprint for Congress to take up net neutrality rules. It will be difficult for lawmakers to adopt a proposal -- expected to keep wireless networks unregulated and allow priority speeds for companies that pay up -- without more support for ground rules from other companies.
The Federal Communications Commission wants Congress to take up its push for rules that would prevent carriers from blocking Web sites or making some download faster, after losing a federal court decision in April that undermined the agency's ability to regulate broadband service providers.
August 9, 2010; 1:04 PM ET
Categories: Google , Net Neutrality , Verizon
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