Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Network Neutrality: What Google and Verizon Should Have Said

Google and Verizon recently offered a "compromise" proposal that accepted Network Neutrality for wired networks with limited enforcement, but then carved out exceptions for wireless and premium services. Here are the main points I think Google and Verizon should have acknowledged:

(1) We understand that wireless airwaves and landline right of ways belong to the public.

(2) We understand that we have been granted a license or charter to provide voice and data communication services based on these public resources.

(3) Building and operating the nations communications network gives us a great deal of power. We understand that we have not been granted a charter to give ourselves or anyone else an unfair competitive advantage over any other lawful communication service that runs on top of our network facilities. The public's interest in an open Internet that supports efficient innovation requires this.

Point 3 is the crux of Network Neutrality. Verizon keeps trying to obfuscate the issue by saying they need the ability to offer premium services and manage the network which Network Neutrality would somehow prohibit. I respectfully disagree.  The issue is whether Internet data carriers can grant themselves an unfair competitive advantage by virtue of controlling the pipes.  The answer that best serves the public interest is "no".

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