Friday, August 06, 2010

Google-Verizon deal would be blow to net neutrality

Google and Verizon are negotiating an agreement that would have Google pay Verizon to "speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content’s creators are willing to pay for the privilege," The New York Times reports. Such an agreement would be a serious blow to "net neutrality" advocates, who say the Internet should be free and open with no content being favored over any other, Edward Wyatt writes for the Times. "The charges could be paid by companies, like YouTube, owned by Google, for example, to Verizon, one of the nation’s leading Internet service providers, to ensure that its content received priority as it made its way to consumers," Wyatt writes. "The agreement could eventually lead to higher charges for Internet users."

The Federal Communications Commission moved in June to reclassify the Internet as a telecommunications service, giving the commission power to mandate net neutrality, a key element to the Obama Administration's national broadband plan. "People close to the negotiations who were not authorized to speak publicly about them said an agreement could be reached as soon as next week," Wyatt writes. Spokespersons for each company declined to comment on the rumored negotiations, and while such a deal would affect only those two companies it might "sway the opinions of lawmakers, many of whom have questioned the wisdom of the F.C.C.’s plans to oversee broadband service," Wyatt writes. (Read more)

Google moved to deny the Times story Thursday afternoon. "The New York Times is quite simply wrong," a Google spokesman told Ashby Jones of The Wall Street Journal in an email. "We have not had any conversations with Verizon about paying for carriage of Google or YouTube traffic. We remain as committed as we always have been to an open Internet." (Read more)

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