Well, this is interesting. As some rumours already suggested, Google and Verizon have released a joint proposal for a legislative framework regarding net neutrality. This being Google and all, some of you may expect this to be all flower-farting unicorns darting across rainbows, but sadly, that’s not the case. This proposal? Well, it’s not good.
If you can’t redefine the word “neutrality”, redefine the word “Internet” instead.
This comment on the Google Blog pretty much sums it up. In the proposal, Google and Verizon pretty much butcher the concept of the internet, slicing it up into three different parts, and only one of those parts gets enforced net neutrality.
First, there’s what they call the wired internet. This is the one which is supposed to get the full net neutrality unicorn, with a prohibition on either degrading or prioritising lawful traffic. In addition, wired internet providers must be fully transparent about the services they offer. This sounds pretty good.
Then Google and Verizon pull a major testicle move by slicing up the internet purely based on access method: there’s now a “wireless” internet too (3G/4G and the like). Apparently, this internet is entirely different, simply because you access it via a different type of medium. I guess this explains why OSNews is pink when accessed over 3G (?!?). This wireless internet will not have net neutrality of any kind.
Then there’s apparently a third internet, titled “Additional Online Services”. This is supposed to be some sort of premium internet, superimposed over the across-the-train-tracks neutral/transparent internet.
“Our proposal would allow broadband providers to offer additional, differentiated online services, in addition to the Internet access and video services (such as Verizon’s FIOS TV) offered today,” Google and Verizon write, “This means that broadband providers can work with other players to develop new services. It is too soon to predict how these new services will develop, but examples might include health care monitoring, the smart grid, advanced educational services, or new entertainment and gaming options.”
Yeah, this is pretty bad and completely arbitrary; the internet is the internet, whether I access it through 3G, cable, or smoke signals. This Additional Online Services thing is basically a major cop-out on Google’s part – I never expected any different from Verizon, being a US carrier and all.
Of course, this would only apply to US citizens, but Google is a large company, and surely, they’ve got major pull in Europe as well. For now, this is just a proposal, and the FCC hasn’t commented just yet.