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Google has sold net neutrality down the river

by on11 August 2010

Long term death
Search engine outfit Google seems to have written wireless communications out of its net neutrality fight as part of its compromise proposal with Verizon.

Writing in its bog, Google tells us that Wireless services are different from normal broadband connections and need to be treated differently. This is a serious change from what its previous "one size fits all" stance on neutrality has been.

Google tells us in its blog that users should choose what content, applications, or devices they use, since "openness has been central to the explosive innovation" that has made the Internet a "transformative medium". It seems to indicate that Google still supports net neutrality and then you get to the next clause which clearly shows Google now has some sympathy for the telcos.

"America must continue to encourage both investment and innovation to support the underlying broadband infrastructure; it is imperative for our global competitiveness," Google says. This is word for word what the telcos have been saying is needed to justify their two tiered internet. So Google is indicating that it has come to a compromise.

Google then says its proposal would now make those open principles fully enforceable at the FCC. This means that landline broadband providers would not be able to discriminate against or prioritize lawful Internet content, applications or services in a way that causes harm to users or competition, the outfit says. The FCC could move swiftly to stop a practice that violates these safeguards, and it could impose a penalty of up to $2 million on "bad actors" which we guess means that Robert Parkinson is going to be in big trouble.

It is all good stuff but it does not apply to wireless. Google said that it recognises that wireless broadband is different from the traditional wireline world, in part because the mobile marketplace is more competitive and changing rapidly. Wireless outfits should be allowed to do what they like with the full blessing of Google and the FCC.

On one hand we are are being told that the world is going more mobile and landline connections will slowly disappear. On the other we have companies setting up wireless connections allowed to screw consumers into the ground. This basically means that in 20 years, when wireless communications totally has replaced landlines, neutrality will simply have been out evolved and replaced without an argument.

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