Media used by cable to create Google scandal

Lies can get around the world long before the truth gets its shoes on. And when those lies are backed by the credibility of a major publisher, they remain long after the truth is told.

Murdoch Wall Street Journal
Like many other subjects net neutrality is hard to understand.

If bandwidth is limited, why shouldn't some traffic get priority? If networks own their own gear, why shouldn't they do with it what they will?

The answers are bandwidth is not limited and networks control speech, where limits must not be subject to private action.

Still, powerful network owners have other ways of muddying the water. One of the best is the press leak to a friendly reporter.

And so we all open our papers this morning to learn that Google is privately negotiating to violate network neutrality.

Only it isn't. The lede is false, it's the spin of the network owners who want us all to ignore their attempts to control what we do or say online in the name of their private profit.

As David Isenberg, author of Rise of The Stupid Network, explains, all Google is proposing to do is edge caching.

This is an established business. Companies like Akamai do it. You build some data warehouses around the country and, rather than going back to the main server for every file request, you send them out locally.

Of course, in order to do this Google needs to buy Internet access. Preferably from multiple sources. So both the cable and phone operators were given a heads-up that they might bid.

Why was this turned into an anti-network neutrality story? Probably because the Journal has long been banging the drum against neutrality, for ideological reasons and because big companies are big advertisers.

Also, I believe, because this is how cable operators -- who fear a neutral network will break their video business model -- spun it.

Why believe what I'm saying? Possibly because the two "experts" the reporters consulted to justify their spin, Richard Whitt of Google and attorney Larry Lessig, say their words were twisted.

Edge caching is about access, not delivery. It's about making it easier for people to reach you, not creating a tilted playing field. It's about competition, not monopoly.

Anyone with substantial traffic and files can edge cache. Anyone for whose content people "rush to the rail" should consider edge caching. It's been around for more than a decade.

But this story holds an important lesson. Lies can get around the world long before the truth gets its shoes on. And when those lies are backed by the credibility of a major publisher, they remain long after the truth is told.

I guarantee you that if, next week, you do a search on "network neutrality" you are going to find the Journal's anti-neutrality spin long before you find their subjects' denials, or this blog post. Even with the Google.

That, of course, is the market at work. And that's something we can do something about. Partly through reminders like the one above, from the Teenage Graffiti blog.

Newsletters

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
See All
See All