3 Gotchas In The Google, Verizon Web Plan

joint net neutrality plan

The announcement came after the two tech powerhouses were under fire for rumors that they were crafting an Internet plan through which Verizon would give Google traffic a higher priority on its broadband network.

In a long blog post on Google's public policy blog and a document outlining their wants for net neutrality, Google and Verizon outlined their plan for a non-discriminate and fair Web. But some key elements of the proposal could easily be overlooked. Consumer protection groups and others are already slamming the proposal , saying that it contradicts the openness it promises. Here we look at three things you should know about Google's and Verizon's net neutrality proposal .

1. The plan only regulates wireline Internet services. Google's and Verizon's web proposal and its suggested regulations only cover wired or wireline broadband. Wireless and "differentiated" services are up for grabs. That means if the FCC regulates and can impose fines against providers who violate the terms of the proposal by blocking or prioritizing traffic, they can only do so for wireline broadband access only. Wireless networks and other networks, like cellular and the "private Internet," are the Wild West where anyone can play and providers can decide which content runs on the network and how fast it runs.

2. The FCC won't make the rules -- service providers will. Yes, the Google and Verizon open web proposal lets the FCC levy fines of up to $2 million against service providers that violate the terms and conditions and discriminate against certain traffic while prioritizing other traffic. But it also takes any and all rulemaking power away from the FCC. That means service providers and groups created by service providers will make the rules of the Internet by which they all must play. The FCC is just there as a referee to call fouls and penalize those who break the rules. As the proposal states: "The FCC would enforce the consumer protection and nondiscrimination requirements through case-by-case adjudication, but would have no rulemaking authority with respect to those provisions. Parties would be encouraged to use non-governmental dispute resolution processes established by independent, widely-recognized Internet community governance initiatives, and the FCC would be directed to give appropriate deference to decisions or advisory opinions of such groups."

Sponsored post

3. It allows for traffic discrimination and prioritization. On the surface, Google and Verizon preach about openness, non-discrimination, transparency and fairness, but deep down the proposal paves the way for pay-to-play traffic considerations as long as it's not traffic and content on the "public Internet." The proposal would let companies create their own sort of private Internets where applications and content can be blocked and certain services can be delivered faster than others. "It would open the door to outright blocking of applications, just as Comcast did with BitTorrent, or the blocking of content, just as Verizon did with text messages from NARAL Pro-choice America. It would divide the information superhighway, creating new private fast lanes for the big players while leaving the little guy stranded on a winding dirt road," the SavetheInternet.com Coalition said in a statement.