Google and Verizon have decided they would do a better job writing the regulations that govern their Internet businesses, and so the two have come up with a “policy framework” that has progressive groups and net neutrality advocates steamed.
The main sticking point is whether companies are able to treat what travels through those Internet pipes differently. Can an Internet service provider block file-sharing, for instance, or make MoveOn.org pay more for bandwidth?
Google has long been an advocate of net neutrality, and so this compromise, which appears tailored to protect Google’s interests while opening the door to “differentiated online services” stings of betrayal.
Like insurance company lobbyists pushing health care reform, Google’s announcement of this policy framework says a lot of nice things about its intentions, but it’s clear from the reaction of people we trust on this issue that it’s cut a deal with the devil.
The Google-Verizon plan would neuter the FCC just when, for the first time in years, we have an FCC that not only gets this issue but is working hard to address it in a pro-consumer way.
The Internet as we know it has made Google and Verizon billions. Shame on them for trying to squeeze even more out of us.
Don’t take our word for it. Read the full Google-Verizon release here. And the full Free Press release, excerpted below, here. USA Today has more on the story. —PZS
Statement by MoveOn.Org Civic Action, Credo Action, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, ColorofChange.org and Free Press:
“The Google-Verizon pact isn’t just as bad as we feared — it’s much worse. They are attacking the Internet while claiming to preserve it. Google users won’t be fooled.
“They are promising Net Neutrality only for a certain part of the Internet, one that they’ll likely stop investing in. But they are also paving the way for a new ‘Internet’ via fiber and wireless phones where Net Neutrality will not apply and corporations can pick and choose which sites people can easily view on their phones or any other Internet device using these networks.
“It would open the door to outright blocking of applications, just as Comcast did with BitTorrent, or the blocking of content, just as Verizon did with text messages from NARAL Pro-choice America. It would divide the information superhighway, creating new private fast lanes for the big players while leaving the little guy stranded on a winding dirt road.
“Worse still, this pact would turn the Federal Communications Commission into a toothless watchdog, left fruitlessly chasing complaints and unable to make rules of its own.
“This is not real Net Neutrality. And this pact would harm the millions of Americans who have pleaded with our leaders in Washington to defend the free and open Internet. President Obama, Congress and the FCC should reject this deal, restore the authority of the agency that’s supposed to protect Internet users, and safeguard Net Neutrality once and for all.”