Now that details of the potential deal between Google and Verizon have been made public, it doesn’t appear to be the diabolical plan that many made it out to be. But it still has great significance for the ongoing debate on net neutrality. On Monday morning, Google laid out the details of the proposal in a post on their Public Policy Blog.
According to Google, the purpose of the proposal is “to protect the future openness of the internet and encourage the rapid deployment of broadband.” Since both of the companies are monoliths in their respective industries, their proposal for an “open internet” is sure to spark some serious debate. Although the proposal is extensive and complex, you can understand the gist by looking at the companies’ two stated goals:
- 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.
- America must continue to encourage both investment and innovation to support the underlying broadband infrastructure; it is imperative for our global competitiveness.
Google has created seven principles that the proposal embodies, including a commitment to openness on the internet, the proliferation of broadband service and the future role the FCC should take in regulation. There is also significant emphasis on creating transparency for consumers to ensure they are aware of the regulations and their rights online. If you are really interested in the finer points of the proposal, you can view the document in its entirety. But for those who only need a basic understanding of the concepts, here are the core components:
~Phone and cable TV companies would be prohibited from altering the flow of internet traffic in any way.
~Broadband providers would be allowed to charge more for premium services—remote medical monitoring, smart grid controls—that take place on dedicated networks.
The companies did leave a few glaring loopholes open, including the exclusion of wireless carriers (aka Verizon) from the rules. But with the complex nature of information networks, the proposal serves as a good launching pad for future debate.
Right now these are just guidelines—which both Google and Verizon have agreed to—but eventually discussions on the topic will have to be taken up by Congress and laws pertaining to the issue seem imminent. This is sure to be just the beginning of the debate and negotiations as other communication and IT companies are sure to voice their opinions. And with the ubiquitous nature of the internet, don’t be surprised if other corporate giants weigh in as well.