Google Expands On Net Neutrality Issues

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Richard Whitt, Washington Telecom and Media Counsel Google has put together a three-part blog post outlining Google’s approach to Net Neutrality, what the company feels is okay for broadband providers to do, what’s not okay, and where they have misled the public.

Whitt addresses three main topics in the series: the broadband market; type-based differentiation; and payment for bandwidth.

"I believe it is important for companies like Google to establish a place of meaningful dialogue with the general public," he writes, "and to open our policy advocacy role to outside analysis — and yes, criticism."

Following is a quick summary of Whitt’s main points.

What Type of Network control is okay for access providers?

1.    Manage their network with content-neutral practices to neutralize "objective network harms," like denial of service (DOS) attacks, viruses, and worms.

2.    To prioritize packets of a certain application type, like video, because there are tangible end-user benefits such as video quality.

3.    Prioritization based upon objective criteria such as latency or jitter, applied in an even-handed manner.

Not okay.

Prioritization used for discriminatory purposes, such as degrading or prioritizing certain applications based on an intention to impair the offerings of competitors. "[S]uch practices should be prohibited as unreasonable," said Whitt.

AT&T’s Full of It

Former AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre complained that Google and others would have to pay to use his "pipes." However, Whitt confirms what everybody knew. They already do pay for it:

Web companies must arrange with network operators to: carry the data traffic from company facilities to their Web servers over local telecom lines (the “last mile”); carry the data traffic from the Web servers into the Internet over high-speed, high-capacity data lines (“special access”); and carry the data traffic over the numerous interconnected networks that make up the Internet (the “Internet backbone”).

To accomplish these important connectivity and transport functions in a fast and effective manner, Internet companies collectively pay many billions of dollars per year to network operators, which fully compensates them for their network investment.

There Is No Competition In the Broadband Market

1.    Phone and Cable companies control 99.6% of the broadband market
2.    Alternative broadband does not compete in terms of speed, price, or availability.
3.    Entry costs are enormous.
4.    Switching costs for consumers are too punitive.

"Together, these salient factors — excessive market concentration, no viable competitors, considerable consumer switching costs, and substantial barriers to entry — should lead policymakers to conclude that there is a major competition problem in the broadband market."

Check out Whitt’s full, detailed posts on the broadband market, type-based differentiation, and paying for bandwidth.

Google Expands On Net Neutrality Issues
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