Google/Verizon: Evil or just plain right?

Google/Verizon: Evil or just plain right?

Summary: If a surgeon at Johns Hopkins is operating via robot on a remote patient 2000 miles away, that is not the time for lag because YouTube gets the same priority as telemedicine under idealistic, outdated Net neutrality rules.

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TOPICS: Verizon, Browser, Google
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Google's and Verizon's proposed "legislative framework" around the issue of network neutrality continues to make headlines. Monday, as Verizon's executive vice president of public affairs, Tom Tauke, addressed a conference on the issue, deep divides between advacocy groups, various segments of industry, and politicians reared their ugly heads again.

Unfortunately, although Google's and Verizon's plan may be incomplete (and plenty would say self-serving), at their core, the two companies are right. Tauke put it best when he said,

"Nobody believes that the promise of broadband is Internet access and video, which is what we have today," Tauke said, adding that future services online will include "tele-work, health-care monitoring, smart grids, smart transportation" and other services.

"That requires a different set of rules..."

Gee...you think? If a surgeon at Johns Hopkins is operating via robot on a remote patient 2000 miles away, that is not the time for lag because YouTube gets the same priority as telemedicine under idealistic, outdated Net neutrality rules.

Obviously, independent oversight will be required to ensure that fears about deep corporate pockets skewing bandwidth allocation in their favor don't come true. I'm not even sure that our government could provide adequate oversite and management, given our penchant for corporate lobbyists and clueless bureaucrats. However, to close-mindedly and doggedly stick to the ideal of complete Net neutrality makes no sense as our use of the Internet becomes not only ubquitous but critical through every sector and element of our society.

Unfortunately, when two heavyweights like Verizon and Google start making proposals like this, it usually reeks of self-interest and corporate greed. However, as Congress continues to debate related issues (ranging from rural broadband to FCC scope and jurisdiction) with a clearly poor understanding of the real issue at hand (ensuring universal access to the Internet), someone had to step up. This isn't the sort of thing that you or I could just walk into the House of Representatives and throw up on the wall, either. It would take serious corporate muscle to make someone in Washington take notice (unfortunately).

That doesn't make it evil. It makes it timely and undeserving of the knee-jerk Google-is-taking-over-the-Internet-and-Ma-Bell-is-back-to-help mentality. The proposal is a starting point, not a manifesto. Neither Google nor Verizon have much to gain by delivering ultimata to Congress. They do have much to gain if things go their way, though, necessitating transparent, strong oversight and review of all elements of a shared Internet.

The most militant of Net neutrality advocates, however, need to take a step back and consider the long-term implications of no-compromise, literal network neutrality.

Topics: Verizon, Browser, Google

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

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23 comments
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  • Intel fined $1 billion

    May 13th 2009:

    http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/09/745

    "Intel made direct payments to computer manufacturers to halt or delay the launch of specific products containing competitors? x86 CPUs and to limit the sales channels available to these products. "

    May 13th 2012:

    "Google paid telcos to halt or delay competitors websites in preference for its own and was found to be in violation of anti competition laws. "
    guihombre
    • RE: Google/Verizon: Evil or just plain right?

      @guihombre Who did they pay?
      BIGELLOW
      • RE: Google/Verizon: Evil or just plain right?

        @BIGELLOW
        "Antitrust: Commission imposes fine of ?1.06 bn on Intel"
        Apparently they paid the EU.

        The EU right now is like the new street gang on the block. They feel really powerful that they can put fines on companies for whatever. Right now companies like Intel and Microsoft put up with it because their profit margins would suffer if they left. But if the EU keeps putting fines on them they might decide that it's not worth staying in the market.
        Bucky24
      • RE: Google/Verizon: Evil or just plain right?

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        3shao
  • RE: Google/Verizon: Evil or just plain right?

    The Internet isn't a single network. It is a tangle of thousands of private and common carrier networks that use a (more or less) common protocol. To assume that all organizations will operate their networks will only operate under a common business model is silly.
    dsonnen@...
    • RE: Google/Verizon: Evil or just plain right?

      @dsonnen@... Absolutely. To assume that all organizations will follow the proper rules of DNS, for instance, is lunacy.
      BIGELLOW
  • RE: Google/Verizon: Evil or just plain right?

    Sure as hell not right!
    getjeffrey
  • If you want top level QoS...

    Build your own f***** network. Our state run power co (HydroQuebec) has its own PRIVATE fiber/wireless network and they have no problem with.
    Tommy S.
    • We did build our own network. Called it the Internet.

      @Tommy S.
      So if crappy Comcast wants to LEAVE OUR INTERNET, the one developed by academics using United States Government dollars... I have no objections.

      PS. Just tell Comcast to leave the PUBLIC RIGHT OF WAY and PUBLIC AIRWAVES behind.
      JohnVoter
    • Internet was developed with US government dollars

      @Tommy S.
      PS. Based on their blatant monopolistic practices, I think it is time for Comcast, Verizon, etc to RETURN THE PUBLIC RIGHT OF WAYS and public airwaves, without which they would not exist.
      JohnVoter
      • RE: Google/Verizon: Evil or just plain right?

        @JohnVoter The very first, very basic protocols and lines were put into place by the government. Then the universities put in more (though technically that's government too). But the major advancements in internet technology, protocols, and most importantly, the building of the country-wide fiber backbones, have been done by corporations.

        Also, Comcast and AT&T are what we call "legal monopolies", ie government sponsored ones. In this sort of an industry if active competition was the rule of the day, it would be difficult for one single company to climb to a position where it could offer anywhere near the quality of service that we get. And prices would be through the roof-maintaining a backbone is not cheap.
        Bucky24
  • No more regulation!

    The government should stop harassing businesses with regulations especially when they rely on FOSS.
    Linux Geek
    • RE: Google/Verizon: Evil or just plain right?

      @Linux Geek
      Let's abolish all forms of government so that businesses will make all decisions for all of us. Really, business people always know what's best for the rest of us, right? They would never ever do things like dump toxic wastes into our water ways, blast off mountain tops and leave the inhabitants with polluted drinking water and decimated landscape, or sell tainted meats to the unsuspected public, or exploit third world inhabitants for cheap labor, would they? Oh no, business people are good christians and government people are evil satanists.
      nothingness
  • Author should pull his head out of...

    Should Comcast be allowed to SHUT DOWN innovative new web services just because they COMPETE with those that Comcast offers?

    HELL NO!!!

    Network neutrality is where the CONSUMER gets to choose what innovative, new, crazy, genius web sites they want. Not outdated. Simple liberty and justice.
    JohnVoter
    • RE: Google/Verizon: Evil or just plain right?

      @JohnVoter I think the main thing you fail to understand here is that Comcast owns their network. They paid to put it in, and they pay to maintain it. Now, they are a government sponsored monopoly, but regardless, they are still a company. A company that has the right (at least according to capitalism) to be competitive. Now I don't believe that blocking certain web sites is right, but I also don't believe that I have the right to just walk up to Comcast and force them to do otherwise. Of course you can also say that because they are government sponsored then they are subject to regulation. IMO the government should only regulate services that are basic human rights. The FDA is a good example of this, as are the government sponsored power companies (though I think that in the case of power companies the government should just provide the service themselves).

      But the internet is not a right, at least not yet, not in this country. It is a privilege.
      Bucky24
  • RE: Google/Verizon: Evil or just plain right?

    Evil.

    Dawson is just plain wrong, here. The issues aren't as simple as he states; and he's grossly underestimating the self-serving interests of corporate America...

    ...and has apparently been asleep under a rock for the past couple or three years as proof of corporate America's evil has played-out before our very eyes.

    Net neutrality, at all costs, must be ensured. AT ALL COSTS...

    ...which may very well mean that if the likes of Johns Hopkins wants priorty bandwidth so bad, then it should build its own backbone.


    _______________________________
    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com
    gregg@...
    • RE: Google/Verizon: Evil or just plain right?

      @gregg@... Amen, brother!
      sismoc
  • Remote robotic surgery?

    C'mon, come up with a better example that remote robotic surgery for your net neutrality mental exercise. There's no way I'd let anybody robotically operate on me over the Internet, neutrality be damned - the reliability of the Internet just isn't good enough, not even close. Hell, even a completely private network may not be reliable enough for this application, since it is literally life-and-death.
    doodlius
    • Robotic surgery

      @doodlius
      "I'm making the incision now..."
      NO CARRIER
      "uh oh"
      Bucky24
  • The twin headed dragon rears its head

    The crux of the matter:

    [i]Obviously, independent oversight will be required to ensure that fears about deep corporate pockets skewing bandwidth allocation in their favor don?t come true.[/i]

    The crux of the problem:

    [i]I?m not even sure that our government could provide adequate oversite and management, given our penchant for corporate lobbyists and clueless bureaucrats.[/i]

    Your words, 'nuff said.
    klumper