Google’s market capitalization is $150 billion. Verizon’s is $85 billion. They don’t care about our wellbeing. Even if one of them tells us it won’t “be evil.”
Published on AlterNet, by , August 20, 2010.
(Read first in The New York Times: Web Plan Is Dividing Companies, by CLAIRE CAIN MILLER and BRIAN STELTER, August 12, 2010).
… The Verizon-Google Net Neutrality Proposal begins by stating that “Google and Verizon have been working together to find ways to preserve the open Internet.” Well, that’s nice. Imagine what they would have come up with if they had been trying to kill off the open Internet.
Actually, you don’t have to imagine it. Because that’s what this is. An effort to kill off the open Internet … //
… But the Verizon-Google Proposal allows almost as much latitude to other internet carriers, like cable and DSL carriers. Under the heading “Network Management,” all carriers can “engage in reasonable network management,” which “includes any technically sound practice” (which means what?). And it specifically includes the power to “prioritize general classes or types of Internet traffic, based on latency.” The term “latency” means delays in downloading, from carrying video files and such. So if you want video, and YouTube won’t pay Verizon to provide it, then Verizon can “prioritize” other traffic. And then your two-minute video will take two hours to see. And let’s say you want to start a new website that offers video — good luck getting through to Verizon’s customer service department, to have Verizon place it in the right ‘tier’ of Verizon’s internet service. In my experience, customer service requests have extraordinarily high “latency.”
Furthermore, under the heading “Non-Discrimination Requirement” (that sounds promising!), wireline carriers cannot engage in “undue discrimination.” “Undue discrimination!” What, exactly, is “due” discrimination? And even then, the presumption of non-discrimination “could be rebutted.”
And if a carrier somehow manages to run afoul of these absurdly loose standards, the FCC doesn’t even have the power to act, unless someone actually finds out about the discrimination, complains about it, and can prove it. And even then, the Verizon-Google Proposal limits the penalty to $2 million. (full text).