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Google says it's ready to file antitrust complaints if telcos abuse their network control

Google spoke to reporters today and warned that if broadband service providers abuse a possible right given by the government, it will step up and file anti-trust complaints. The issue boils down to net neutrality, which has been large ongoing issue between broadband service providers, companies, schools and the government. Google says that it hopes that legislators will support net neutrality, which will prevent large telcos and cable companies from creating tiered networks, charging more for a certain type of use than another, even though the data travels on the same network.

Google said that it will not hesitate to file anti-trust complaints against any company that abuses their control over network bandwidth and prices. However, this control has not been handed over from the government just yet. Although the US Senate Commerce Committee approved a communications reform last week that allows telephone companies to offer subscription based television services to customers.

Vint Cerf, a Google vice president told reporters that "if the legislators insist on neutrality, we will be happy. If they do not put it in, we will be less happy but then we will have to wait and see whether or not there actually is any abuse." Google, like many other content-driven companies -- including Microsoft -- support net neutrality. "My company, along with many others believes that the Internet should stay open and accessible to everyone equally."

Several communications and network companies including Cisco, oppose net neutrality simply because their business is based on network control and bandwidth. Last week, DailyTech reported that the net neutrality debate received two new proposals from two groups. The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and the New Yorkers for Fair Use both offered their own proposals on how net neutrality should be handled. Both of the groups offered similar views, saying that US legislators should distinguish the Internet from other types of networks. Tiered networks would be okay as long as the Internet itself remained neutral, said both groups.

Although several major telcos have said that the government and companies like Google are concerned over nothing, many companies supporting net neutrality say that given the chance, large telcos would create tiered networks in a heart beat. Without a neutrality bill protecting equal Internet access, Google fears that fair competition would be stifled and prices would soar.

"We are worried that some of the broadband service providers will interfere with that principle and will attempt to use their control over broadband transport facilities to interfere with services of competitors," said Cert.


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good stuff
By fxyefx on 7/4/2006 4:13:17 PM , Rating: 2
It's comforting to know that net neutrality is supported by a financial behemoth like Google.




RE: good stuff
By NerV04 on 7/4/2006 4:57:34 PM , Rating: 2
because they have nothing to lose with it...
they arent a ISP


RE: good stuff
By Howard on 7/4/2006 5:33:10 PM , Rating: 2
It's not a question of there is to lose, it's what the telcos have to _win_. Net neutrality is the status quo, AFAIK.


RE: good stuff
By bob661 on 7/4/2006 6:38:38 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
because they have nothing to lose with it...
Just remember that if they get charged more, we get charged more. Do you really think that M$ and others would pay extra for these tiered networks and not "pass the savings off to the customer"?


RE: good stuff
By jtesoro on 7/5/2006 12:14:08 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, in another thread here in DT, someone said that Google was going to implement some sort of tiered network in their planned WiFi service in San Francisco. It's good to get confirmation that Google is firmly on the side of net neutrality.


RE: good stuff
By masher2 (blog) on 7/5/2006 11:25:06 AM , Rating: 2
> "It's good to get confirmation that Google is firmly on the side of net neutrality. "

Google is firmly on the side of whats best for Google, as is every corporate entity. As they should be. This statement from Google is a feel-good action that costs them nothing and buys them some excellent PR. It also doesn't commit them to anything concrete, as telcos "abusing their power" is certainly open to interpretation.

As for Google's WiFi plans in San Francisco, it will most certainly be a de facto tiered implementation. It'll be one of the following:

1) Free, ad supported + paid, adless service
2) Free, ad supported + addl. paid services
3) Free, non ad supported + addl, paid higher-speed services.

In all cases, those who pay more will receive faster service(ads take packets after all). And in all cases, Google intends to make a tidy profit. Delusions of their harboring selfless goals to better mankind are unfounded.


RE: good stuff
By creathir on 7/5/2006 12:27:52 PM , Rating: 2
Most people here elevate Google to this "for the little guy" status... totally forgetting that they are a multibillion dollar corporation, not any different than Microsoft.

*sigh*

Gotta love the double standard.
- Creathir


RE: good stuff
By jtesoro on 7/5/2006 7:20:26 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not saying that Google is "the little guy". All I'm saying is that for whatever reason, Google is putting themselves on the side of Net Neutrality. I'm sure they're not being altruistic, but the Net Neutrality guys will take them as allies here.

To reiterate why I'm for Net Neutrality, I'd hate it very much if the likes of Skype get demoted to the slow lane once telcos copy them and start launching their own VOIP services (which will of course go on the fast lane). Skype's performance will look inferior all of a sudden. Not good for innovators and innovation.


//I have a Skype account for testing, but haven't gotten around to making or receiving a Skype call. No other VOIP account either


RE: good stuff
By masher2 (blog) on 7/6/2006 11:18:31 AM , Rating: 3
> "I'd hate it very much if the likes of Skype get demoted to the slow lane..."

Rubbish. No one is going to "get demoted". A slow lane isn't being created, a FAST lane is.

On the Net Neutrality side, we have everyone remaining in the same slow lane we have today. On the Tiered side, we have that, plus an additional fast lane, for those who want to pay for it. Those who do so will underwrite the costs for the rest of us...those who don't pay-- its business as usual for them.




RE: good stuff
By PitViper007 on 7/7/2006 11:33:41 AM , Rating: 2
You are assuming that additional bandwidth will be implemented with the tiered system. I don't think that will happen. At best I think there will be a dedicated pipe for the paid content, with the unpaid getting the rest. Assuming the total bandwidth is unchanged, that does mean a slower lane for the other services.


RE: good stuff
By jtesoro on 7/5/2006 6:56:50 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, so now it's "de facto" tiered internet because "ads take packets after all". If this is the tiered internet, then so is the fact that even today you can get pay a certain amount to get 1MBps bandwidth and more than that to get 2MBps. Well, it's not.


RE: good stuff
By masher2 (blog) on 7/6/2006 11:20:15 AM , Rating: 3
> "Ah, so now it's "de facto" tiered internet because "ads take packets after all"..."

And Google will ensure those ad packets are sent to you first, ahead of other traffic. Or you can pay more, and get faster service. No different than the tiered model that Net Neutrality advocates against.


RE: good stuff
By jtesoro on 7/7/2006 4:05:38 AM , Rating: 2
You are still essentially saying that the tiered internet is being able to buy 1Mbps at a certain price, and 2Mbps and a higher price. Again, it's not.


RE: good stuff
By masher2 (blog) on 7/7/2006 9:29:51 AM , Rating: 2
I am saying-- correctly so-- that the complaints against the tiered internet are that a company with money will be able to deliver its packets to you faster than a company without. A situation that already exists today.


RE: good stuff
By jtesoro on 7/7/2006 10:35:14 AM , Rating: 2
MY complaint against a tiered internet is that operators can abuse their power and put their services in the fast lane while leaving competing services in the regular (slow) lane. And they will keep copying newly developed innovative services and reap the benefits because they will be in the fast lane while the originator will be in the slower lane.

And don't you pull a fast one on me. You're switching to the company / application developer side now. In this particular discussion thread, we're talking about an end-user getting better performance by paying more. You're calling that a tiered internet too, which it isn't.


RE: good stuff
By masher2 (blog) on 7/7/2006 11:32:41 AM , Rating: 2
> MY complaint against a tiered internet is that operators can abuse their power and put their services in the fast lane while leaving competing services in the regular (slow) lane"

Oops. By and large, telcos are *already* prevented from doing this in the long-haul market. And in last-mile service, the "net neutrality" bills still don't prevent telcos from offering their own proprietary services, which doesn't relegate competitors to the "slow lane", it forces them out entirely.

So half your complaint doesn't exist, and the other half isn't even addressed by proposed legislation. So why again are yo supporting this initiative?

> "In this particular discussion thread, we're talking about an end-user getting better performance by paying more. "

I'm talking about a situation in which COMPANIES who pay more (via ads) get their packets delivered to end-users ahead of all other packets. That's a tiered Internet, like it or not.



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