Google’s Side

August 13th, 2010 by · 2 Comments

This week’s big event was of course the Google/Verizon network neutrality proposal, which took heavy fire from the network neutrality camp – some seeing Google’s action as a betrayal.  Was it?  Well that depends on what one wants from the whole argument: victory, policy, or the argument itself.  Yes, there are those who would prefer (consciously or unconsciously) to leave network neutrality as a battlefield indefinitely, as it provides a useful us-versus-them division with easy access to the press.  In a very real sense, Google did turn its back on that group by attempting any sort of compromise at all.  

They did not do so out of altruism though, they simply realized that as a corporation they want and need resolution and an eventual end to the uncertainty.  An endless game of tug-of-war may be great politics and drama, but it’s not good business.  And it is the politics and drama that have me so jaded on the subject of network neutrality right now.  It’s great fodder for bloggers and talking heads, many of whom privately don’t care at all either way so long as they can keep writing about it.  The whole debate lately has been as useless as watching CNN’s Crossfire or any such show – opinion salvos are launched without any conversation at all and both sides prefer it that way.

Does that mean a compromise would be good for consumers as well?  Well, perhaps not this one since it chickens out of the big questions in wireless.  But, with all the holes people are shooting in it, it certainly isn’t going to be the one that floats in the end anyway.  And since the FCC is still mostly worried about its own legal basis for doing stuff, and Congress couldn’t get anything done even if it *wasn’t* an election year, the possibility of any actual regulation or legislation in the near future seems remote at best.  

So since nothing is going to happen anyway, all that Google has done is shake things up and start the conversation anew.  At least now we can be free of the illusion that there are just two sides to this – the evil telcos and everyone else.  Google’s interests may not align with the telcos, but they may also not align with consumers – they exist to make money just like any other corporation – and this is true across all content makers.   Perhaps the mixture will settle into a less dysfunctional shape this time.

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Categories: Government Regulations · Internet Traffic

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2 Comments So Far

  • Frank A. Coluccio says:

    Net neutrality proposal an experiment: Vint Cerf
    By Peter Nowak | CBC News | August 13, 2010


    Podcast: [20min 37sec]

    FAC: Rick Whitt, Google’s Washington counsel, also participated in this interview. Vint makes an interesting distinction at about the 9 min 30 sec mark concerning the nature of the broadband provider’s architecture playing into how content (video) is separated from the discretionary capacity allocated for high-speed Internet (HSI). He used the Verizon FiOS design to illustrate how Verizon, at least, employs an analog form of video delivery over a separate wavelength. I submit that this may only be a temporal consideration, since it would seem almost inevitable that Verizon will migrate to IPTV at some point in time, in one form or another, but who knows when or how that will be, or if that future implementation, too, will employ a separate wavelength or become co-mingled with HSI? Based on the trending toward OOT and other forms of Web-based video delivery, I think the odds are even it could go either way. At the ~ 13 min mark wireless treatment is also discussed. A hat tip to Doc Searls on the Cook Report discussion list earlier today for the pointer to this interview…

  • anon says:

    i, for one, am enjoying watching google evolve from fast growing, do-no-evil-startup to full fledged legal juggernaut. they cut a deal with verizon because their mortal threat on the handheld compute side is apple who tied up with att and somehow went from 0.0% of the cel phone market to their current position in the last five years.

    at the same time, google was sued by crafty lawyer redstone at viacom, is being sued by killer larry at oracle (java) and proxy sued by lord hugeness at apple via HTC. It is great to want to rule the [telco, software, advertising, etc] world, but to get there you have to fight through those that already do… i don’t think anyone is confused that att and verizon earn more combined than most countries on earth and actually dwarf google at every line (rev, ebitda, employees, union friends, patents, etc). this is going to get fun

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