Google and Verizon offer an FCC Proposal on Net-Neutrality

Early August (2010) Google and Verizon wrote an FCC proposal regarding Internet neutrality: no new rules should yet apply to wireless Internet.

Net neutrality is when Internet Service Providers (ISP) allow unfettered web content to its users.  No net neutrality is when an ISP blocks its users from online content, in favor of, say, its own search engine – so the ISP chooses what content you view, not you.

Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO of Google, and Lowell McAdam, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless, both agree that the Internet needs to remain open and unrestricted (as long as it’s legal), but as far as wireless broadband not being subject to net neutrality:

Because of the unique technical and operational characteristics of wireless networks, and the competitive and still-developing of wireless broadband services, only the transparency principle would apply to wireless broadband at this time.  The U.S. Government Accountability Office would report to Congress annually on the continued development and robustness of wireless broadband Internet access services. –From the Verizon-Google Legislative Framework Proposal (DOC)

Groups opposing the Google-Verizon offer believe that no new rules governing wireless Internet will create two different types of Internet: one where subscribers are willing to pay for premium content while the other is riddled with slow downloads crammed with advertising.

ISPs like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon are seeking to turn the Internet into a subscription-based service where the user pays to access online content.

Verizon’s FiOS TV has 3 million subscribers in 16 states, where users can interact with their Twitter, Facebook, or other social media while watching TV.  Verizon is already using its FiOS TV on its dedicated network to deliver high quality content for health care monitoring, educational programming, or new entertainment to companies willing to pay for it.

Instead of viewing the net-neutrality debate as premium content Internet versus the free and public Internet (that may be subject to slow connections and laden with advertising), Google and Verizon are clearing the stage for distinguishing online services other than traditional broadband Internet services.  For example, taking their Droid or HTC Imagio, the FiOS remote control app can change channels, record TV shows, and other features not found on the traditional remote control, all from your cell phone.

The FCC has opened a 55-day window waiting for more comments and feedback regarding net neutrality, as this issue has been postponed until after the November elections.  Applicable rules not applying to wireless Internet will affect ads there (maybe returning to traditional advertising models).  Please respond with your net-neutrality comments here or contact:

John Giusti
News Media Contact from the Federal Communications Commission
445  12th Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 200554
(202) 418-2000
(202) 418-2830 (fax)