To many people outside of technology, it is not obvious what is at stake. Here is an excerpt from Clair Cain Miller and Brian Stelter’s article on the New York Times website describing the debate.
The debate revolves around net neutrality, which in the broadest sense holds that Internet users should have equal access to all types of information online, and that companies offering Internet service should not be able to give priority to some sources or types of content.
When you read the proposal from the massive global companies, you find that they all talk about how regulation for WIRED devices is appropriate, however; for wireless Internet access, we need to allow other forces to play and not regulate them, and certainly not the FCC.
Now, while I am not a Google fanatic (no matter how often I write about them), I do not believe they ‘do evil’ as some are suggesting (which is a cynical comment on their “do no evil” internal motto).
The problem and PR nightmare Google has found themselves in has to do with they are now a player in a huge group of technologies where it might behoove them to have friends which can cut out others potentially.
One example from the article above would have you believe that Verizon might cut out Bing (a Microsoft Search Engine) if permitted to limit certain services. I really doubt this is a practical example. It is too obvious.
Since the issue is for a ‘new’ set of services, I see real issues around a company as large as Google bringing together their technology (including Video dissemination (Youtube) and Mobile OS capability (Android)) and creating an application which would then be classified into this new set of services.
In other words, what about video marketing of your company? If you want access to their platform for sales (which, isn’t that what Google is all about, advertising?), you have to pay more than if you just release the video from your website, or other services such as Vimeo.
Now, you are responsible for getting the marketing and sales message out, and you can’t just play with anyone anymore. If you want your video’s to be seen on clear, fast, non-stuttering mobile wireless connectivity, you have to pay more.
Thanks Google, that is something I want to worry about for my clients.
I would rather the argument go on until technology ‘fixes’ the issue, than allow these two 800 lb gorillas help create the conversation to go down the path to the future that fits them the best.
So, in short, no Google, I don’t trust you to help fix this problem. Political issues and all, I feel you just left your ethics at the door and are now one of those who are forcing a solution. I can’t see a reason to do this except to grab a chunk of the future for your benefit, not for the benefit of the rest of us outside of giving us something in one hand (with a price) while taking away an option with the left (which was free).
Finally, one short comment. If you read a bunch of the articles on this subject, very few castigate Verizon for this effort. Is it due to the fact that we aren’t surprised that Verizon would act this way? If so, what is the age-old comment about watch what company you keep around you?