Google Files Net Neutrality Pleas With FCC

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While the world seems to be waking up to a larger, more powerful Google than they anticipated, the company’s heft can work to the consumer’s advantage, especially in matters of government influence (da gov’ment does seem to prefer corporations over its citizens). On Friday, Google filed 47 pages worth of comments with the FCC about Net Neutrality.

This makes Google’s position on Net Neutrality nice and solidly official; it wasn’t long ago that the words of Senior Policy Counsel Andrew McLaughlin made us wonder how committed they actually were.

We note also that McLaughlin did not pen the post on Net Neutrality at Google’s new Public Policy Blog. Google Washington Telecom and Media Counsel, Richard Witt, goes into detail there instead, highlighting some interesting technical distinctions in a more grounded (read: less technical an obtuse) way.

And that’s good news, especially when clueless politicos have been relying primarily on the spun wool of the telecommunications industry, both parties with vested interest in a non-neutral Internet.

Whitt points to a rather salient and resonant aspect of broadband access: Nearly 100% of Americans with broadband connections subscribe via telephone or cable company, a clear duopoly. While these same two industries mention emerging competition – broadband over power lines, satellite, etc.–  Whitt notes that in reality these options cannot offer the speeds of DSL or cable.

And just wait until the country runs on fiber – there’ll be no contest in terms of speed, and the same companies running the DSL and cable world will be running the fiber world as well. Yet, they [big telecom and cable] still say that there’s no incentive to invest without the right to discriminate.

Whitt summarizes what was in the FCC filing by outlining, in as simple terms as you’ll find on this subject, what Google feels is okay for these incumbents to do and what is not okay.

Google’s Okay List:

Prioritizing all applications of a certain general type, such as streaming video;

Managing their networks to, for example, block certain traffic based on IP address in order to prevent harmful denial of service (DOS) attacks, viruses or worms;

Employing certain upgrades, such as the use of local caching or private network backbone links;

Providing managed IP services and proprietary content (like IPTV); and

Charging consumers extra to receive higher speed or performance capacity broadband service.

Google’s Isn’t-Okay List

Levying surcharges on content providers that are not their retail customers;

Prioritizing data packet delivery based on the ownership or affiliation (the who) of the content, or the source or destination (the what) of the content; or

Building a new "fast lane" online that consigns Internet content and applications to a relatively slow, bandwidth-starved portion of the broadband connection.

Among other things, Google recommends courses of action, which include a ban on most forms of packet discrimination and an "effective enforcement regime." We know from experience that may or may not be the FCC, especially with W’s and the telco’s handpicked pencil-neck Kevin Martin in charge, who, in general, has lots of bad ideas and isn’t the biggest fan of the First Amendment.

Does that mean Congress is the "enforcement regime?" Well, time will tell. There are bills at work, but the legislative body (which hardly anybody’s happy with anymore) has a dismal record when it comes to keeping the telecom giants in check.


Google Files Net Neutrality Pleas With FCC
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