Google-Verizon Broadband Plan Draws Criticism
August 10, 2010 at 7:35 AM (PT)
The proposal by GOOGLE and VERIZON would allow the FCC to regulate wired networks to prevent ISPs from demanding payment from content companies for "premium" faster access to customers, or from favoring their own co-owned content over competitors. But the plan exempts wireless broadband, which is the linchpin of the FCC's own National Broadband Plan to deliver high-speed Internet to poor or rural areas and is widely seen as the primary way consumers will access the Internet in the future. It also exempts new separate networks that do not run on the open Internet, which could lead to content being pushed exclusively through the unregulated competing networks in the manner of cable TV.
MEDIA ACCESS PROJECT SVP/Policy Dir. ANDREW JAY SCHWARTZMAN told the NEW YORK TIMES that the plan "creates an Internet for the haves and an Internet for the have-nots. It may make some services unaffordable for consumers and access to those services unavailable to new start-ups."
Former MYSPACE and MTV NETWORKS executive JASON HIRSCHORN told the TIMES that the exemption for new separate wired networks could be "just another way of going against net neutrality. Imagine a world where ABC, COMEDY CENTRAL, MTV, any of these brands, were on some other network, and then there was this open Internet."
"It is conceivable under the agreement that a network provider could devote 90% of its broadband capacity to these priority services and 10% to the [regular] Internet," GIGI SOHN, President of PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE, told the WALL STREET JOURNAL.
FREE PRESS advisor JOEL KELSEY told the JOURNAL, "GOOGLE and VERIZON can try all they want to disguise this deal as a reasonable path forward, but the simple fact is this framework … would transform the free and open Internet into a closed platform like cable."
FCC Commissioner MICHAEL COPPS issued a statement criticizing the GOOGLE-VERIZON plan, saying, "Some will claim this announcement moves the discussion forward. That's one of its many problems. It is time to move a decision forward -- a decision to reassert FCC authority over broadband telecommunications, to guarantee an open Internet now and forever, and to put the interests of consumers in front of the interests of giant corporations."
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