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Google CEO Eric Schmidt (left) and Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam (right)
Two firms agree on many basic points, but disagree on several others

Net neutrality is a very touchy subject and companies and users of the internet come down on different sides of the argument. Some feel that the internet needs to remain totally neutral and allow any type of traffic or content to be freely available. Others fee that wireless and wired connectivity providers should be able to monitor their traffic and regulate the traffic when needed.

The problem for many users is that regulation of traffic online by ISPs has historically centered on file sharing and peer-to-peer traffic which is often shown in a bad light by ISPs as used by pirates and other nefarious users. The truth is that there is a lot of perfectly legal and reasonable peer-to-peer and file sharing traffic online.

Verizon Wireless and Google CEOs Lowell McAdam and Eric Schmidt issued a joint statement on finding common ground for an open internet today. The two companies are already working together to bring new Android handsets to market so it makes a bit of sense that they would also talk about net neutrality together as well.

According to the statement, the two companies disagree quite strongly on some aspects of government policy in the net neutrality area. Specifically, a big disagreement is on whether wireless networks should even be part of the net neutrality discussion. However, both companies feel that it is imperative that the internet remain open and unrestricted to any type of content as long as that content is legal.

The statement says that the two companies understand the FCC's national plan to bring broadband to all Americans and to start a debate on the openness of the internet and how to best protect that. Verizon and Google report that they have found several common basic concepts that they agree on.

The first is that both firms believe the user should have the final say on how their web experience works. Second, the two firms say that an advanced and open network is essential to the future of the internet and policies to provide incentives for investment and innovation in the network realm are a vital part of the debate.

Thirdly, Google and Verizon believe that it makes sense for the FCC to establish broadband principals that make it clear users are in charge of all aspects of their internet experience and that these principals should be enforceable.

Fourth, the two firms report they are in "wild agreement" that flexibility in government policy is key. Fifth, the broadband network provider would have the flexibility to manage their networks to deal with traffic congestion, spam, malware, and DoS attacks and other threats that may emerge. The final common point is that transparency must be added to the FCC's guidelines.

Verizon also reports that it feels there is no evidence of a problem today, especially for wireless, and no basis for new rules and regulations that could affect providers globally. Google supports this type of regulation and this is another major disagreement between the two firms.

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RE: They might be on to something.
By MrBlastman on 10/22/2009 10:25:28 AM , Rating: 3
The problem is, while Google supports some principals, none of them restrict Google from storing information about its users or the people that surf through it. Google is very clear about its stance on that--and it continues to add storage and grow every day.

There is a big reason why I do not use my gmail account for hardly anything. I should take it to the next step and stop using their search engine completely as well. I do not like the idea of an all-seeing Google Eye watching and recording everything I do... and storing it for years upon years.

RE: They might be on to something.
By R3T4rd on 10/22/2009 10:27:33 AM , Rating: 2
Correct. That is why you need some Federal Regulation to prevent what you are stating. I didn't want to get into this subject too deep and just acknowledge that at least Google and Verizon had some balls to go out of the ordinary.

RE: They might be on to something.
By therealnickdanger on 10/22/2009 11:08:03 AM , Rating: 1
Google also loves NN because it allows them continue their free ride on the backs of consumers and infrastructure owners. If NN isn't passed and Comcast decides that Google's websites consume too much bandwidth, they can charge Google money or throttle access to their sites... this is something Google does not want because it will COST them. They don't care about users or anything nearly as philanthropic as all that, we're just pawns in their multi-billion dollar business.

Do no evil... my arse.

RE: They might be on to something.
By R3T4rd on 10/22/2009 11:20:41 AM , Rating: 2
And that is why you still need some regulations to prevent such bad tactics and adversities. I think they had some great points but how they go about it is another story to be told. But at least they, again, are breaking out of the ordinary bubble. You have to at least give them that credit. Thats my stance on it.

RE: They might be on to something.
By amanojaku on 10/22/2009 11:59:54 AM , Rating: 2
I really don't like the cellphone billing approach that you just described. Charging a content provider for the bandwidth used in addition to the connection costs is retarded. That's the same as me paying for a phone call that I received, when I'm already paying for the line costs. Worse, you can ignore a phone call to lower costs, but you can't ignore a legitimate request for data. I'm in favor of two concurrent models:

1) flat-rate services at a maximum bandwidth, for both consumers and content providers

2) usage-based billing, based on a minimum connection fee, that runs cheaper than the flat rates at lower utlization, but is higher at or near the same level of utilization

Let's say an ISP offers two flat-rate plans, 10Mbit/sec @ $50/month and 50Mbit/sec @ $100/month. Usage-based plans could include a flat-rate connection charge + a usage charge that is a percentage of the flat-rate plan at that speed.

At 10Mbit/sec that usage could be $10 (connection charge)+$50 ($50*100%)= $60, while 5Mbit/sec would be $10+$25 ($50*50%) = $35. The point at which flat-rate becomes desirable is 80% utilization.

Bandwidth between 10Mbit and 50Mbit could be $25+($100*n%), resulting in a price range of $26-$125. The point at which flat-rate becomes desirable is 75% utilization.

At higher speeds there would be more of a push for flat rate. It doesn't make sense for you to get a 1Gbit/sec connection if you're only going to use 5Mbit/sec on average. It costs the ISP a deal of money for faster ports, which is covered by the connection fee. Higher speeds require more bandwidth reservations, which is expensive when not in use. The goal would be to make flat-rate desirable for high average utilization as that is easier to plan for resources. That's MY idea, anyway.

RE: They might be on to something.
By Yawgm0th on 10/23/2009 1:37:18 PM , Rating: 2
Google also loves NN because it allows them continue their free ride on the backs of consumers and infrastructure owners.
Their free ride? Internet usage is a free rider problem? Really? You don't think Google pays for its Internet access? Google already pays its ISPs a fair price for bandwidth. Why pay again for our ISPs? Google's ISPs could counter and charge us for getting full-speed access to Google's servers.

It's just an opportunity to make everyone pay more for the same thing.

this is something Google does not want because it will COST them.
Of course. But what's your point? Of course Google wants net neutrality for financial reasons. So do consumers. ISPs are against it for financial reasons. The crux of the whole argument is economic. The fact that the principal of an open Internet is also at stake is just another reason to support net neutrality.

They don't care about users or anything nearly as philanthropic as all that, we're just pawns in their multi-billion dollar business. Perhaps, but the ISPs don't even pretend to care. They spy on us, charge us prices not based on effective market competition, and seek to water down the Internet. Regardless of Google's true intentions, their actions generally are helpful to the consumer -- if that's lucrative, then so be it.

RE: They might be on to something.
By ancient46 on 10/22/2009 12:27:31 PM , Rating: 2
If you don't use a add-on that blocks tracking for ads, Google is watching and storing information as you surf this site. Google Analytics is recording your every click, as it does on a majority of websites. Gmail and the search engine are a few drops in the ocean of information Google gets from you.

If you do not want to be tracked on Firefox, install Ghostery.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain
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