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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.

Question-and-answer time:

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.

By Cecilia Kang  |  August 9, 2010; 1:04 PM ET
Categories:  Google , Net Neutrality , Verizon  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Verizon-Google deal could influence continued wrangling over net neutrality rules
Next: Google-Verizon deal draws criticism from Democratic lawmakers


This sucks. Guess it's time to use Bing, get rid of gmail accounts, already cancelled Verizon. Maybe when these corporate cretins realize American are serious about net neutrality, even though our supposed government agencies/watchdogs aren't (obviously in favor of lining their own pockets or jobs when they leave "public service"), they'll know this isn't in their own interests either. Watch for immediate boycotts of both corp's services - hope so anyway. Screw all of them.

Posted by: capone1 | August 9, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if gloom and doom is warranted, but it is troublesome to let the mobile phone companies dictate the terms of even a section of the Internet. They haven't exactly been friendly to innovation until it was absolutely necessary. I certainly will not be using only wireless technology if giving up network neutrality is a price to entry.

Posted by: jjhare | August 9, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Isn't FiOS wired? It is fiber, which is wire made of glass.

Posted by: msmollyg | August 9, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Net Neutrality's primarily purpose should be to keep a level playing field so that new companies can compete with the existing big players (who already have a massive advantage). It seems strange that the arbiters of a deal to preserve the Internet for small new comers would be the two biggest players. Excuse me if I don't hold much faith that they are acting in everyones best interest.

Posted by: timbern | August 9, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

WEASEL WORDS!!! Schmidt should hang his head in shame!! There goes my respect and support for google. Net Neutrality is a non-negotiable requirement for an open and innovative internet. "Private channel" is a code term for capacity that instead of becoming a part of the internet is instead sold to the highest bidder. The public information superhighway will be a country road in less than 10 years if this is allowed!

I guess you got yours Rick and screw the rest of us!!

Posted by: RandomArrow | August 9, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Capone1. I've changed my default search engine to Bing from Google.

If Google sees an Acapulco cliff dive in search usage maybe they'll stop short of becoming the Silicon Sellout.

Posted by: CallMeLiberal | August 9, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Capone1. I've changed my default search engine to Bing from Google.

If Google sees an Acapulco cliff dive in search usage maybe they'll stop short of becoming the Silicon Sellout.

Posted by: CallMeLiberal | August 9, 2010 5:24 PM |
Me too. Here's how, on Firefox.

Posted by: gannon_dick | August 9, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Wow... dropping Google and Verizon for agreeing on what they believe net neutrality rules should look like and publishing them as a framework for adoption? You guys are harsh. I guess you want a managed internet instead. BTW, for those that are confused about who is involved here. Verizon Communications and Verizon Wireless are two totally different companies. One is for wired services like phone, DSL & FiOS; which made the framework with Google on net neutrality - the other is a Doing Business As (DBA) name for a privately held company named Celco Partnership who is not a party to this framework...

Posted by: Poligulous | August 10, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

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