Google to File Antitrust Complaints Against Telcos If Necessary
July 4, 2006 3:54 PM
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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,
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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How I see this...
7/5/2006 12:38:18 AM
...is a case of Google trying to hedge their bets... they're basically saying "we want network neutrality forever, but, if we don't get it, we'll make it extremely painful for anybody who wants to screw with us." While this may be the most advantageous thing from their perspective to do, what it may do is, in a post-neutral Internet, provoke ISPs into pressuring partners of Google to apply indirect pressure, or to squeeze out any new players from amassing Google's level of power. Either way, it's a mutually assured destruction principle technology-wise. While it keeps Google safe, it potentially imperils both the ISPs and any other content provider.
"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer
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