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Friday, August 6, 2010

A Little Truth on the Google Verizon Internet Deal.

In a hissy fit of control-gasim, some members of the House are now urging the FCC to take action on the issue of Net Neutrality. Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) along with Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) began speaking out last Thursday after Google and Verizon announced a potential deal concerning Internet traffic management on wired and wireless networks. According to the terms of the deal Verizon would not limit access to content on their wired networks, but these rules would not apply to their wireless networks where they would control such access-as a means to provide a better experience for their users.
Verizon Communications Inc.and Google Inc.have struck their own accord on handling Internet traffic, as both participate in talks by U.S. officials on Web policy, two people briefed by the companies said.

The compromise as described would restrict Verizon from selectively slowing Internet content that travels over its wires, but wouldn’t apply such limits to Internet use on mobile phones, according to the people, who spoke yesterday and asked not to be identified before an announcement.

Unfortunately, people who have no idea how the Internet works or what it takes to deliver said content to users are meddling in this deal. The lawmakers assume that having tiered levels of service, specific service guarantees and giving providers the flexibility to offer specialized packages is a bad thing.

"I believe these reported side deals by companies risk undermining his efforts," Eshoo added. "This would widen the gap between the haves and the have-nots. I remain a champion to ensure that the next Google is able to flourish on the internet, and not have its content sit in the slow lane."

“In their effort to gain a competitive advantage in this age of media consolidation, broadband providers are attempting to create a regime that locks information away behind pay walls, dramatically shifting power, and choice, away from consumers to serve their bottom lines," said Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.). "There is no better evidence than these recent reports as to why the Federal Communications Commission must act quickly to preserve Internet freedom.”
Alas, the fact is the talks between Google and Verizon only serve to further innovation, opportunity and enhance the user experience. While they would like you to believe that deals like this somehow limit upstarts ability to compete, nothing could be further from the truth. Existing mega-entities like Google have already invested millions in fiber-optics and giant data centers; they are willing to pay a premium to have their content delivered to the end-user. Their willingness to pay this premium will make it so providers can then offer managed packages to start-ups that don't have this kind of investment and allow them to match Google's level of service without the same investment in infrastructure. To imply this limits choice and denies others a competitive advantage is a complete fallacy. In fact it is likely this will further competition and innovation.

Frankly, this particular agreement only applies to service levels and differentiating between wired and wireless data delivery. The amount of data space available on wireless networks is limited, to throttle information in that space is completely acceptable. In a truly competitive system, if you don't like it, go to a provider that doesn't. One thing it would be wise to remember is Verizon invested in the infrastructure and technology, their handling of it should be up to them. Consumers always have another choice in cellular providers if they are unhappy.

Lawmakers must stop playing around with every aspect of business and our lives. This is just another attempt at controlling the companies that provide access, the Internet and the content that resides there. These two companies are working together to provide the best user experience. This is a good thing. Let the free market and competition decide their fate.