updated 03:35 pm EDT, Thu August 5, 2010
FCC says neutrality overrides Google, Verizon view
Any possible pact between Google and Verizon on Internet neutrality would have no effect on the FCC's policies, agency chairman Julius Genachowski declared today. When asked, he was adamant that net neutrality as seen by the FCC would remain intact. Genachowski wasn't clear on whether this would extend to wireless, whose fate is still undecided, but said it was important to preserve an even competitive field.
"Any outcome, any deal that doesn't preserve the freedom and openness of the Internet for consumers and entrepreneurs will be unacceptable," he claimed.
Google and its frequent Android partner have allegedly struck a deal that would preserve neutrality on landlines but abandon it on cellular links, giving Verizon the ability to charge more for certain kinds of content over its phone network and potentially the authority to block or throttle apps and services, including those that could compete with its own features.
The two companies accused of making the deal have so far been evasive in addressing the question. At the Techonomy conference on Wednesday, Google CEO Eric Schmidt didn't touch on specific talks and only said that the two companies had been chatting for a long time on neutrality as subject; he thought neutrality was important to avoid discriminating against companies but not for different types.
Verizon in an official statement didn't deny talks but said that an NYT article accusing it of wanting to charge extra for certain Internet content "fundamentally misunderstands our purpose" and that it wasn't making a business deal but rather advocating policies. It claimed to want an open, responsible Internet but wanted to curb regulation to "specific FCC authority, while maintaining investment and innovation." The carrier didn't directly challenge accusations that it was pressing Google to drop any calls for neutrality in wireless.