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FCC chair: neutrality would trump any Google/Verizon pact

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.

by MacNN Staff



  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    And who gets to define what a data network is? If you sign up for an email service for your blackberry, is the phone company violating neutrality by blocking internet access? Is the Kindle violating law because their data access is limited to download books?

    And will their neutrality rules, then, require that all traffic must be accepted, or can the company charge for the different types of traffic. For example, if you want streaming capabilities, you need to pay extra. If you want to torrent, you'll pay extra. if you want remote access, you need to pay extra? Is that against the law?

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