Google has made a contentious deal on net neutrality. This controversial deal will give telecom and cable firm internet access providers new influence over web traffic. Google and the largest telecoms carrier in the US, Verizon, have issued a “joint policy proposal for an open internet”. Google and Verizon long for this policy to evolve into a successful model for others to follow in the industry. As a result of this “joint policy”, telecoms companies will be authorised to charge media companies that desire preferential treatment for traffic between their websites. Similarly, the progressively important devices for internet access, namely the smart phones (BlackBerrys, iPhones and Google Android phones), will be charged too.
Furthermore, Google’s and Verizon’s deal will permit telecoms and cable firms to sell preferential network access over broadband into homes and offices, provided that it is for services that are unavailable on the internet at present. These firms have extensively desired the permission to sell access to an internet “fast lane” to the highest bidder, which they have argued is fundamental to raise the money that they need to invest in more and faster broadband. Net neutrality is the principle upon which the internet was built and this principle entails that all traffic is treated equally, with the same access for large companies and small bloggers or start-ups.
However, the US regulator, the Federal Communications Commission, was shown unable to enforce the rule after a legal challenge which was supported by the cable industry. Many campaigners believe that because of Google’s deal on net neutrality with Verizon, danger is inevitable, that is the danger of a two-tier internet dominated by big corporations. The campaigners are shocked because this is a principle that Google once adopted and has now lost. Verizon agreed it would not slow access to its broadband network for present users or kinds of traffic, provided it was law abiding.
However, Verizon has achieved the dangerous right of charging preferential rates. This must be for “additional, differentiated online services’ the pair said. Google and Verizon said that these new services may “include healthcare monitoring, the smart grid, advanced educational services, or new entertainment and gaming options”. Nevertheless, they also affirmed that “It is too soon to predict how these new services will develop”.