Background: Today, Verizon and Google announced that they have reached a private agreement on a legislative proposal for Net Neutrality.
The following is attributed to Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge:
“The agreement between Verizon and Google about how to manage Internet traffic is nothing more than a private agreement between two corporate behemoths, and should not be a template or basis for either Congressional or FCC action. It is unenforceable, and does almost nothing to preserve an open Internet.
Most critically, it sacrifices the future of the mobile wireless Internet as this platform becomes more central to the lives of all Americans. “Under the Google-Verizon definition of network neutrality, wireless companies would only have to be transparent about their network practices – meaning that they could block any application, content or service so long as they told consumers they were doing so. And while there would be no pay for priority on the best efforts Internet, there are almost no limits on so-called “managed services,” other than that they would need to be “distinguishable in purpose and scope,” from the Internet. Thus, it is conceivable under the agreement that a network provider could devote 90% of its broadband capacity to these priority services and 10% to the best efforts Internet.
If managed services are allowed to cannibalize the best efforts Internet, whatever protections are agreed to for the latter become, for all intents and purposes, meaningless. “The public outrage to the initial reports of this agreement should be a sign to the FCC and Congress — the public wants the FCC to protect an open Internet and ensure that the next Google, the next Facebook, the next Twitter and the next Wikipedia can succeed.
With the recent demise of the FCC’s network neutrality negotiations, the time for delay and inaction has ended. The FCC should expeditiously complete its open, public and comprehensive process to decide the fundamental issue of FCC authority over broadband, an issue that not only applies to network neutrality but also is crucial to whether all Americans will have affordable access to broadband service.”
Public Knowledge is a Washington D.C.- based public interest group working to defend consumer rights in the emerging digital culture. More information is available at http://www.publicknowledge.org
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