Federal Communications Commission Walks Away From Net Neutrality Talks
August 6, 2010 at 4:24 AM (PT)
Federal regulators have decided to walk away from negotiations between Web companies and Internet Service Providers over so-called Net Neutrality rules, which would prevent discrimination in the way online traffic is treated. THE LOS ANGELES TIMES reports the FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION would no longer try brokering a deal among various phone, cable TV and Internet companies, saying that weeks of talks had not "generated a robust framework to preserve openness and freedom of the Internet."
YESTERDAY (NET NEWS 8/5), ALL ACCESS reported that FCC Chairman JULIUS GENACHOWSKI has been trying to salvage his efforts by negotiating directly with a handful of the biggest Web firms and network service providers. His goal is for those firms to put aside their differences on how ISPs control content on their networks and agree on legislation that GENACHOWSKI can present to Congress.
THE NEW YORK TIMES had reported that two of the largest players on the web, GOOGLE and VERIZON "are nearing an agreement that could allow VERIZON to speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content’s creators are willing to pay for the privilege." However, those companies deny that report, with a GOOGLE representative saying "We have not had any conversations with VERIZON about paying for carriage of GOOGLE traffic. We remain as committed as we always have been to an open Internet."
"The FCC talks made good progress toward consensus on a number of points," said VERIZON EVP TOM TAUKE. He told the L.A. TIMES VERIZON "will continue to work with the FCC, Congress and all interested parties" to ensure that the Internet remains open.
AT&T Sr. EVP JIM CICCONI said AT&T was "disappointed that the Net Neutrality talks convened by the FCC have broken down." He added, "We put a number of significant concessions on the table and, despite TODAY's setback, remain convinced that a consensus solution can be achieved."
Are Wireless Networks Different?
CNET.COM, however, has a different take on net neutrality, writing "Lost in the hubbub of whether GOOGLE and VERIZON are nearing a secret deal to tier the Internet is the truth that few will say out loud: Net neutrality is dead on wireless networks."
The report claims the companies involved may have already agreed on how to handle web traffic on wireless networks.
Read the full report here.