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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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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 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.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch
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