The FCC’s Crusade to Keep the Internet Free

Verizon and Google want to exempt wireless networks from rules

By Todd Shields and Brad Stone

Imagine an Internet for which consumers paid a low price for basic service and higher prices for add-ons like 3D video. Or imagine if Comcast (CMCSA), now seeking approval to acquire NBC Universal, allowed its customers to download Universal movies at superfast speeds, while relegating the latest Harry Potter film from rival Time Warner (TWX) to the slow lane.

Open-Internet advocates say such cable-television-like tiered services and virtual toll booths would violate “Net neutrality,” the concept that all information coursing across the Web is equal.


Logo of Comcast
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Verizon and Google want to exempt wireless networks from rules

By Todd Shields and Brad Stone
Imagine an Internet for which consumers paid a low price for basic service and higher prices for add-ons like 3D video. Or imagine if Comcast (CMCSA), now seeking approval to acquire NBC Universal, allowed its customers to download Universal movies at superfast speeds, while relegating the latest Harry Potter film from rival Time Warner (TWX) to the slow lane.

Open-Internet advocates say such cable-television-like tiered services and virtual toll booths would violate “Net neutrality,” the concept that all information coursing across the Web is equal. Leer más “The FCC’s Crusade to Keep the Internet Free”

Net Neutrality: What’s Really Going on?

“Net neutrality is dead!” “Net neutrality lives!” “Google has sold out!” “Google denies selling out!”

The past couple of days have seen contradictory reports about the state of the Federal Communications Commission’s push for network neutrality, all culminating yesterday when the FCC announced that it had called off closed-door net neutrality talks between major industry players such as AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and Google. Net neutrality refers to the principle that ISPs should not be allowed to block or degrade Internet traffic from their competitors in order to speed up their own.

What you need to know about the FCC’s broadband plan

Since the flurry of activity surrounding net neutrality yesterday was often confusing, let’s try to pin down what we know.

The New York Times got the ball rolling two days ago when it reported through anonymous sources that Google and Verizon were near a deal that would let Verizon “speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content’s creators are willing to pay for the privilege.” While the deal between Verizon and Google was separate from the talks the FCC had been having with major industry players, the newspaper noted the deal between two major industry players “could upend the efforts of the Federal Communications Commission to assert its authority over broadband service.”

It didn’t take long for net neutrality advocates for sound the alarm, as Free Press President Josh Silver wrote at the Huffington Post that the Verizon-Google deal would mark “the end of the Internet as we know it.” Google, which has traditionally been viewed as a proponent of net neutrality and has worked with consumer advocacy groups to press for net neutrality in the past, quickly denied that it had reached any sort of deal with Verizon. The FCC, fearing a backlash from consumer groups over its backroom negotiations, soon after called off its separate talks with industry leaders.

Artwork: Chip TaylorSo where does all this leave network neutrality? The answer is that no one really knows, although the commission could always go back to its previous plan outlined by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski this past May, where the commission would reclassify ISPs as common carriers while at the same time insisting that ISPs be exempt from the vast majority of regulations in the current common carrier rules. But this plan has run into a buzzsaw from both the telecommunications industry and from members of Congress in both parties, who implored the FCC to drop its reclassification plan and instead either work with Congress to get net neutrality rules or simply drop the subject all together.


Brad Reed, NetworkWorld

Net neutrality is dead!” “Net neutrality lives!” “Google has sold out!” “Google denies selling out!”

The past couple of days have seen contradictory reports about the state of the Federal Communications Commission’s push for network neutrality, all culminating yesterday when the FCC announced that it had called off closed-door net neutrality talks between major industry players such as AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and Google. Net neutrality refers to the principle that ISPs should not be allowed to block or degrade Internet traffic from their competitors in order to speed up their own.

What you need to know about the FCC’s broadband plan

Since the flurry of activity surrounding net neutrality yesterday was often confusing, let’s try to pin down what we know.

The New York Times got the ball rolling two days ago when it reported through anonymous sources that Google and Verizon were near a deal that would let Verizon “speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content’s creators are willing to pay for the privilege.” While the deal between Verizon and Google was separate from the talks the FCC had been having with major industry players, the newspaper noted the deal between two major industry players “could upend the efforts of the Federal Communications Commission to assert its authority over broadband service.”

It didn’t take long for net neutrality advocates for sound the alarm, as Free Press President Josh Silver wrote at the Huffington Post that the Verizon-Google deal would mark “the end of the Internet as we know it.” Google, which has traditionally been viewed as a proponent of net neutrality and has worked with consumer advocacy groups to press for net neutrality in the past, quickly denied that it had reached any sort of deal with Verizon. The FCC, fearing a backlash from consumer groups over its backroom negotiations, soon after called off its separate talks with industry leaders.

Artwork: Chip TaylorSo where does all this leave network neutrality? The answer is that no one really knows, although the commission could always go back to its previous plan outlined by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski this past May, where the commission would reclassify ISPs as common carriers while at the same time insisting that ISPs be exempt from the vast majority of regulations in the current common carrier rules. But this plan has run into a buzzsaw from both the telecommunications industry and from members of Congress in both parties, who implored the FCC to drop its reclassification plan and instead either work with Congress to get net neutrality rules or simply drop the subject all together. Leer más “Net Neutrality: What’s Really Going on?”