Feeds

Google, Verizon deny secret FCC end run

Network neutrality battle cranks up to 11

Remote control for virtualized desktops

As The Reg reported early Thursday, the Wall Street Journal claims that Google and Verizon are in talks to create a tiered pay system for content.

The same sub-rosa confabs were also cited by The New York Times, which said that an agreement could be reached "as soon as next week". According to the WSJ, "a tentative agreement on managing network traffic ... could be announced as soon as Friday."

Google, however, says that the NYT is "wrong". Verizon says that the NYT is "mistaken".

If such an agreement is reached, it would — in the NYT's words — "overthrow a once-sacred tenet of Internet policy known as net neutrality," and eventually lead to multiple tiers of internet-access services, with users paying higher fees for "premium" service, much as cable telelvision and broadband subscribers do today.

Thursday morning, however, Google and Verizon tried to throw cold water on the resulting firestorm of outcry from net-neut supporters. Google's Public Policy arm tweeted: "@NYTimes is wrong. We've not had any convos with VZN about paying for carriage of our traffic. We remain committed to an open internet."

A Google spokesperson offered a slightly more-complete but essentially identical response to the WSJ, saying: "The New York Times is quite simply wrong. We have not had any conversations with Verizon about paying for carriage of Google or YouTube traffic. We remain as committed as we always have been to an open Internet."

Verizon, for its part, responded to a Reg request for comment on Thursday by saying: "The New York Times article regarding conversations between Google and Verizon is mistaken. It fundamentally misunderstands our purpose. As we said in our earlier FCC filing, our goal is an Internet policy framework that ensures openness and accountability, and incorporates specific FCC authority, while maintaining investment and innovation. To suggest this is a business arrangement between our companies is entirely incorrect."

Both the WSJ and the NYT reported that the FCC had been holding meetings with net-neut stakeholders such as Google, Verizon, AT&T, Skype, the Open Internet Coalition, the National Cable & Telecommunoications Association (NCTA) to hammer out net-neut policies. The WSJ characterized the meetings as "private" and "closed door", while the NYT reported that FCC staffers "jokingly" refer to the meetings as "secret."

Maybe so, but FCC chairman Julius Genachowshi doesn't think so. When asked at a press conference following the a Thursday public FCC meeting if his commission was holding secret meetings, he retorted: "The talks obviously aren't secret."

Genachowski also noted that any net-neut deal "that does not preserve the freedom and openness of the Internet for consumers and entrepreneurs would be unacceptable."

And so the dance goes on — a three-way two-step featuring self-described pro net-neut supporters such as Google, Amazon, Yahoo!, eBay, and others; anti net-neuts such as AT&T, Verizon, the NCTA, the Communications Workers of America (CWA), and others; and an FCC weakened by a federal court decision in the Comcast BitTorrent case but seeking a "third way" to shore up its regulatory powers, stuck in the middle.

If you're wondering which side will prevail, here's a bit of interesting data to chew on: according to a recent report, the anti net-neuts outspent the pro net-neuts by four-to-one in lobbying fees during the first quarter of 2010. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Big Content outs piracy hotbeds: São Paulo, Beijing ... TORONTO?
MPAA calls Canadians a bunch of bootlegging movie thieves
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
The hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.