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Google Responds To Net Neutrality Reviews 265

Posted by Soulskill
from the debate-rages-on dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Google has written a defense of their joint Net Neutrality proposal with Verizon, responding to criticism like the EFF's recent review. Google presents its arguments as a list of myths and facts, but too many of them look like this one: 'MYTH: This proposal would eliminate network neutrality over wireless. FACT: It's true that Google previously has advocated for certain openness safeguards to be applied in a similar fashion to what would be applied to wireline services. However, in the spirit of compromise, we have agreed to a proposal that allows this market to remain free from regulation for now, while Congress keeps a watchful eye. Why? First, the wireless market is more competitive than the wireline market, given that consumers typically have more than just two providers to choose from. Second, because wireless networks employ airwaves, rather than wires, and share constrained capacity among many users, these carriers need to manage their networks more actively. Third, network and device openness is now beginning to take off as a significant business model in this space.'"
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Google Responds To Net Neutrality Reviews

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  • Strange rebuttal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 13, 2010 @11:13AM (#33240360)

    That FACT looks like a plain confirmation of the alleged MYTH.

    • by ukyoCE (106879)

      For the plan to eliminate net neutrality over wireless, there would have to BE net neutrality over wireless. There is not. They've failed to negotiate net neutrality for wireless with Verizon, but that in no way prevents futures deals from being sticken, or of course, for the government to step in and regulate it. In case you forgot, Google is not the government, and is not responsible for forcing every ISP to obey net neutrality.

    • by Spazmania (174582)

      It might look like confirmation of the myth if you read only two of the four paragraphs. The rest of it was:

      In our proposal, we agreed that the best first step is for wireless providers to be fully transparent with users about how network traffic is managed to avoid congestion, or prioritized for certain applications and content. Our proposal also asks the Federal government to monitor and report regularly on the state of the wireless broadband market. Importantly, Congress would always have the ability to

  • In other words (Score:5, Informative)

    by toppavak (943659) on Friday August 13, 2010 @11:14AM (#33240384)
    It looks like their position on enforcing NN over wireless networks is a "wait-and-see" approach since they suspect that we'll see competition growing between networks and platforms that could have the same effect as regulation. While one may disagree with the degree of competition that exists, it's not an entirely unreasonable position.
    • With wired connections, people can and have argued that we should wait till there's actual abuse. The wireless networks have been far more tightly controlled than the wired networks, with actual tiered pricing schemes, and as Google says, with that limited spectrum, there's that much more incentive to control them -- so it seems like there's already abuse (so forget wait-and-see) and potential for more abuse.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MobyDisk (75490) *

      Growing competition? Today the US has 3 wireless carriers: Sprint, AT&T, Verizon. A few years ago, there were 4: Cingular. All that is happening now is that the wireless carriers are selling service to subsidiaries who rebrand the service and resell it (Boost, Virgin, Net10, Tracfone...) so that it *appears* that there is more competition while the same 3 companies retain control.

  • Fact: Yes we sold out, but we didn't sell that much...
    • by causality (777677)

      Fact: Yes we sold out, but we didn't sell that much...

      Hah. Yeah, the first MYTH about principles is that they can be compromised and retain their status as principles. The (polite) term for this is situational ethics.

    • by Bob9113 (14996)

      Fact: Yes we sold out, but we didn't sell that much...

      ...and you should see what we got -- we're first down the pipe on every single Verizon device!

  • by steve_thatguy (690298) on Friday August 13, 2010 @11:18AM (#33240466)

    I'll give credit to Google for at least responding directly to their detractors and explaining their position in what seems like an honest and open way (you'd think if they were trying to sell us on swampland that they wouldn't use the word "compromise"). In spite of everyone's criticisms I still think Google adheres to the "don't be evil" mantra as well as they possibly can.

    That said they should've stuck to their guns. Their new Net Neutrality position sucks.

    • by causality (777677)

      you'd think if they were trying to sell us on swampland that they wouldn't use the word "compromise"

      Actually when dealing with businessmen and politicians the word "compromise" is one of the key warning signs. When they use it, it's designed to dispel opposition without actually removing the causes of opposition. It sounds so good and reasonable.... until ...

      That said they should've stuck to their guns. Their new Net Neutrality position sucks.

      Until it's no longer so good and reasonable.

    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Friday August 13, 2010 @11:37AM (#33240824)
      Sorry, but with the way mobile internet access is growing, any compromise that allows non-neutral mobile internet is very bad. If Google wanted to "not be evil," they would have gotten up and left the room if Verizon refused to budge on that issue.
      • by Quaz and Wally (1015357) * on Friday August 13, 2010 @12:09PM (#33241442)
        You realize that non-neutral mobile is allowed right now, yes? Most carriers won't let you do any peer to peer sharing. This is right from AT&T's terms of service.

        This means, by way of example only, that checking email, surfing the Internet, downloading legally acquired songs, and/or visiting corporate intranets is permitted, but downloading movies using P2P file sharing services, redirecting television signals for viewing on Personal Computers, web broadcasting, and/or for the operation of servers, telemetry devices and/or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition devices is prohibited.

        You guys act like Google is opening the flood gates to ISP abuse, when they are really just not touching the wireless ones. And they have decent reason for it too considering wireless infrastructure limitations.

    • what seems like an honest and open way

      TFS includes a "MYTH" which is directly confirmed by the quoted "FACT", which is misleading at best. It certainly doesn't seem honest -- honest would've been to come out and say, "Yes, this proposal would eliminate net neutrality over wireless."

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        Do you have a single example of a MYTH that is confirmed by the FACT? The closest one is "MYTH: This proposal would eliminate network neutrality over wireless." Where they explain that they aren't eliminating anything. They just aren't proposing any changes other than transparency.

        we have agreed to a proposal that allows this market to remain free from regulation for now

  • As a related question, who is responsible for limiting my cable choices? Right now, if I want decent broadband at a relatively fair price, I have just two choices. I can choose the phone company's DSL, or the single cable company's service. Why is there only one cable company allowed in my area, when I had at least two in my previous area (different state, too). Is this the township's fault? The county's fault? The state's fault? How do I find out who to harass, lobby, spam, or beg to be allowed more
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TheDawgLives (546565)
      Usually the cable companies make a deal with the city wherein the cable company lays the wire in exchange for an exclusivity contract (state sponsored monopoly) for a specified time period which the city can extend. Complaining to the city counsel or is your best bet as they usually make these determinations, but don't be surprised when these complaints fall on deaf ears as these contracts usually come with nice amenities for the people who negotiate them (read "free unlimited everything packages for the ci
      • by zero_out (1705074)

        ...these contracts usually come with nice amenities for the people who negotiate them (read "free unlimited everything packages for the city counsel.")

        Would this be something that can be fought? Would it be considered corruption, bribery, or some similar offense? If the benefits were for the city as a whole, like free services for the fire/police depts. (not the fire/police personnel), then that would obviously not be a crime.

    • by langelgjm (860756) on Friday August 13, 2010 @11:30AM (#33240714) Journal

      Most places have a cable franchise agreement. Depending on where you live, this could be done at the town, region, city, or even state level. There's likely a "cable advisory board" or something similar... I served on one when living in Connecticut. If you're a cable customer your bill should include information about that group. If not, maybe just browse your local government website looking for that sort of information.

      Be aware, though, that even when you contact them there's probably nothing they can do. Franchise agreements only come up for renewal every so often. If you're still in that area when it's up for renewal you'll have more luck, but that might just mean you'll be dealing with a new provider, not an additional one.

  • by KarrdeSW (996917) on Friday August 13, 2010 @11:20AM (#33240500)
    The Google/Verizon proposal still keeps the transparency and disclosure requirements in place for wireless services. This is really the only part that's necessary to make sure I'm buying what I think I'm buying. If no company ever wants to offer a neutral wireless network to play on, then I'll just content myself with my wired connection and just use my phone to make calls.
    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Friday August 13, 2010 @11:30AM (#33240710)

      If no company ever wants to offer a neutral wireless network to play on

      I would call such a situation a massive policy failure, especially considering how many people now use wireless broadband and how the market is expected to grow over the next few years. Right now is the time to act on wireless network neutrality, not 5 years from now when the wireless carriers have established non-neutral networks.

      • by boxwood (1742976)

        I'd say getting the wired internet neutral is the biggest priority now. Think about it, who provides wired internet service? Cable companies. Its becoming more commonplace to get television shows and movies over the internet. What happens when people realize they don't need cable tv anymore? The cable companies lose their core business. People don't have to pay for a bundle of dozen channels they don't want just to get the one they do want. They simply pay for each show they want indvidually, either by cas

        • by causality (777677)

          If the cable company could send a bandwidth bill to netflix for example, well netflix has to charge users more per movie to pay for that bandwidth bill. They can make netflix charge enough so that its cheaper to keep your cable tv subscription than watch your tv shows and movies off the internet.

          They could do something radical, extreme, and utterly crazy. Like pricing their Internet access in such a way that it realistically reflects the price of providing it, rather than hoping to subsidize it with anoth

  • Compromise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by esocid (946821) on Friday August 13, 2010 @11:23AM (#33240570) Journal
    Why does Google find it necessary to compromise? They carry pretty heavy clout on their own without having to cave.
    • See how well that worked out for them in China?

    • Because despite how much clout Google may have, they are very dependent on the ISPs that allow Google's customers to connect.
    • by beefstu01 (520880)

      They've thrown their clout around for a while. The new 4G networks that will be coming on will use the C block, which had network neutrality provisions put in because of Google's clout.

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Friday August 13, 2010 @11:23AM (#33240572)

    this says it all:

    With that in mind, we decided to partner with a major broadband provider on the best policy solution we could devise together.

    if they wanted to do this right, they'd partner with MORE than just 1 carrier.

    that would, at least, give the appearance of impartiality.

    bzzzt. sorry google, but you lost the PR war on this one. we can see thru your agenda, here. had you put together ALL the carriers, that would have been different; but you chose ONE of them.

    sorry, but you don't deserve any 'credit' for being, well, just a business with busniness level self-interests and sweetheart deals with 'our select partners'.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Actually I would view this proposal much worse if it did involve more than 1 carrier. It would signal that Google was openly and blatantly moving toward a monopoly position as a internet media producer, where Google would have negotiated a bandwidth advantage over any of its competitors. This is a huge red flag that signals that Google sees it acquired enough market and influence covertly that it now can make bolder moves to strengthen its market position.

      What is meant by "Reasonable Network management" an

    • Translation (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *

      if they wanted to do this right, they'd partner with MORE than just 1 carrier.

      Translation: "we bid on the VHF auction, which we need to reach all the homes, but Verizon bid more and we figured it would cost less to work with them than to outbid them".

  • Programmers Humour (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Klync (152475) on Friday August 13, 2010 @11:24AM (#33240602)

    I have to wonder if the founders of google have spent most of the last decade having laughing fits over their motto, which makes a promise through negation of a subjective term.

    Do no evil.

    What does that even mean? Oh, they're going to thump their chests toward China? (admittedly, that's more than most western governments are willing to do these days, but I digress...)

    What about the company's mission statement:

    To organize the world's information.

    Well, it would be difficult to argue the case that this is, in and of itself, evil, but when you consider what "the world's information [23andme.com]" encompases, and what controlling that means, it's hard to think otherwise.

    Now, a little more on topic, it's clear that google's amassed an army of lawyers and PR Flacks to rival their army of programmers. Makes me wonder whether their business model / management style is just to ensure they are the employer for all the world's language masters - be it natural or artificial. But, hey - free webmail!

  • Oh no (Score:2, Insightful)

    Google has proposed net neutrality legislation that gives the FCC authority to enforce net neutrality, and doesn't change anything with wireless internet other than require transparency. This will certainly be much worse than the existing net neutrality laws, which don't exist. Except for maybe the Comcast court decision.

    They must be evil now.
  • The Google doth protest too much!
  • Not too evil (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mrybczyn (515205)

    First the Communist Party search "compromise", now the carrier traffic shaping "compromise". The road to hell is paved with compromises... Good luck cashing in while you can, Googlies, hustle while you can, get out while the getting is good. You had a good run, about the same as the average young and principled politician, I imagine.

  • I don't care whether "consumers typically have more than just two providers to choose from". A competitive market means that no single provider can arbitrary manipulate the equilibrium price for a good or service. Wireless service doesn't work that way.
  • Competition (Score:3, Interesting)

    by StikyPad (445176) on Friday August 13, 2010 @11:53AM (#33241144) Homepage

    First, the wireless market is more competitive than the wireline market, given that consumers typically have more than just two providers to choose from.

    This assumes or implies that there's no collusion between providers, which seems to be wishful thinking at best. The fact that mobile rates in the US are substantially more than in many countries around the world, that subscribers are locked into contracts, that text messaging is *still* not a free or virtually free feature. AT&T effectively more than doubled its data plan prices -- from $30/5GB to $62.50/5GB ($25/4GB) -- and competitors are now "examining their pricing structures" as well. None of these appear to be indicators of a market with healthy competition.

  • Common Carrier (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Myopic (18616)

    I don't understand why common carrier status is not fundamental to this debate. The way I understand it, common carrier status means that a company provides a transportation service to the public and is shielded from liability for the actions of their customers because of the dual facts that the service is essential to modern life and that the company is technically unable to adequately control that customer behavior. That's why airlines aren't liable when terrorists use their planes to destroy skyscrapers.

  • Anyone who's watched them get creative and wriggle out of any pro-competition regulation over the years can assess the proposal on general principles.

    Any ambiguity, wiggle room, or loophole will get exploited to the hilt.

    None of those clauses about additional services or network management are there by accident.

    Verizon knows exactly what they're doing, and they like this plan. Detail-oriented people will properly study it in detail, but Verizon's endorsement is enough to tell you what conclusions that study

  • The ISP should only be reading the source and destination IPs of the data and forwarding it along.
    To prioritize data based on which IP (read Company) that a packet of data is coming from ISPs need only the routing information.

    Google and Verizon have stated that this is not what they are talking about doing. They want to allow priority escalation based on content type.
    Normal routing frames do not contain a field denoting content type "I'm a web page" or "I'm video" or "this data is voice".

    In order to priori

  • I dunno, I'm usually on Google's side. I really don't understand why people chose to fear them. I mean, I understand they have a HUGE potential for evil. But only slightly more so then Microsoft. And M$ has actually been evil, in moderate amounts. I think part of it is hating them for being successful.

    Anyway, even I have to say that some of these rebuttals are kinda weak. There's a lot of compromise on wireless when, go figure, they're coming together with Verizon, whose mostly a wireless (cellular)
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Friday August 13, 2010 @01:49PM (#33243008)

    Its time to switch from Google folks. I already did when this story broke.

    You have to remember that the New York Times broke the story and then Google said they were in no such talks with Verizon that would end net neutrality. Then a couple days later, Google and Verizon come out with this plan for net neutrality. It just looks like Google and Verizon got caught and they came out in full spin mode.

    So which is it Google? First werent in any talks with verizon... then 2 days later you announce a plan with verizon that you just claimed you never talked about with them?

    The New York Times was right. Google and Verizon had to spin it as a pro net neutrality proposal because of the public reponse to the New York Times article.

    It is time to switch from Google.

    Switch to anything but Google. You make up your mind as to whom.... but Google is not our friend. Google is evil.

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