Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Google/Verizon Net Neutrality Compromise - Is it really "FCC Enforceable"?

After the rumors (here) and denials (here) it is now official: 

"Verizon and Google are pleased to discuss the principled compromise our companies have developed over the last year concerning the thorny issue of “network neutrality

Alan Davidson, Google director of public policy and Tom Tauke, Verizon executive vice president of public affairs, policy, and communications (pictured) explained the principles in Google's Public Policy Blog.

See "A joint policy proposal for an open Internet" - here, and the joint statement "Verizon-Google Legislative Framework Proposal" - here.

The main points are as follows:
  1. Wireline ISPs will not be allowed to "discriminate against or prioritize lawful Internet content, applications or services in a way that causes harm to users or competition [and] could not favor particular Internet traffic over other traffic"
  2. "Broadband providers [wire and wireless] would be required to give consumers clear, understandable information about the services they offer and their capabilities. Broadband providers would also provide to application and content providers information about network management practices and any other information they need to ensure that they can reach consumers"
  3. " ..allow broadband providers to offer additional, differentiated online services, in addition to the Internet access and video services .. offered today .. such online services must be distinguishable from traditional broadband Internet access services .. The FCC would also monitor the development of these services to make sure they don’t interfere with the continued development of Internet access services. "
  4. "we would not now apply most of the wireline principles to wireless, except for the transparency requirement."
Few conclusions:
  • Wireless is the future broadband business
  • The "new services" (an idea we know as Internet2?) - will allow cooperation between "broadband providers and other players"
  • Can the new services be "distinguishable from traditional broadband Internet access services"? For example - will Verizon duplicate all its network elements, including the access equipment, so resources are not shared?
  • Like in the previous Amazon proposal (backed by AT&T - here) - I believe that it won’t be easy for the FCC to make sure that the "standard Internet" is getting the investments resulting from the increased use, users and application demand for bandwidth and QoS.

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