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Google and Verizon deal on Net Neutrality?

According to a report by Bloomberg today, Google and Verizon have negotiated an agreement on how to handle Web traffic.

The deal was separate from the negotiations among the Federal Communications Commission and other Web and telecommunications companies, according to the anonymous sources cited by Bloomberg.

According to CNET:

“The FCC has been working with Verizon, Google, AT&T, Comcast, Microsoft, Amazon.com, and others on how to regulate broadband traffic. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s “third way” proposal for redefining broadband traffic would allow the commission reclassify broadband services from a lightly regulated Title I Information Service to a more vigorously regulated Title II Telecommunications service.

Broadband service providers, such as AT&T and Verizon, are against that. Google, eBay, Amazon, and Skype support the FCC’s efforts to reclassify broadband services so that the commission can enforce new Net neutrality regulations.”

Anonymous sources describe the compromise as restricting Verizon from selectively slowing Internet content that travels over its wires, but not applying such limits to Internet use on mobile phones.

Bloomberg quotes AT&T’s Jim Cicconi:

“AT&T is not a party to the purported agreement between Google and Verizon,” Jim Cicconi, AT&T senior executive vice president, said in an e-mailed statement. “We remain committed to trying to reach a consensus on this issue through the FCC process.”

In an emailed statement, Andrew Jay Schwartzman, senior vice president of the Washington-based Media Access Project, a public-interest law firm, said that the FCC must “stay the course” and enact rules “that benefit everyone, not just the largest companies.”

“What is good for Google and Verizon is not necessarily good for innovation and competition on the Internet,” said Schwartzman.

New York-based Verizon’s earnings beat estimates last month after its wireless unit introduced phones running on Google’s Android operating system. Google is based in Mountain View, California.

(Note added August 5, 2010: CNNMoney commented on why a separate deal between Google and Verizon would affect YOU. CNET also comments.)

(Note added August 9, 2010: Google and Verizon proposed a Net neutrality framework today. According to CNET: “The major breakthrough in the proposal is an agreement that the nondiscrimination clause that the Federal Communications Commission has proposed as part of its regulatory efforts would be enforceable.” Net neutrality crusaders immediately blasted the proposed framework.)

(Note added August 14, 2010: Yes, the Raging Grannies [1]  were in the Net Neutrality protest at Google [1; video] in Mountain View yesterday, but we see a lot of them in the Bay Area. More about that later….)

-Bill at

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