Google and Verizon unveil net neutrality plan

Former net neutrality adversaries Google and Verizon have announced a compromise plan aimed a keeping the internet free and open.

Former net neutrality adversaries Google and Verizon have announced a compromise plan aimed a keeping the internet free and open.

The two companies were at odds, with Verizon wanting to scale back web content to protect network performance and Google calling for all services to be treated equally.

The compromise proposals urge US regulators to restrict internet providers from selectively slowing content, but only on wired channels.

The plan calls for mobile internet and new offerings beyond traditional internet and TV services to be exempt, according to US reports.

The plan also calls for network operators to be able to charge more for a category of services that travel over a higher-quality connection separate from the public internet.

These services would include those with high-bandwidth content, such as healthcare, education and entertainment such as 3D video.

But instead of resolving the issue, the proposals have stirred up a barrage of opposition from public interest groups, according to the Financial Times.

Critics say the proposals will allow Verizon and other carriers to discriminate against certain traffic and possibly even favour their own services.

Media interest group Free Press said the plan would divide the internet, creating new private fast lanes for the big players while leaving smaller players behind.

The group said the proposals were an attempt by Google and Verizon to self-regulate, in the same way the banks did in the run up to the credit crunch.

The Center for Democracy and Technology said it supported rules that would prevent discrimination, but the extra freedoms proposed would undermine the plan's value.

The Federal Communications Commission last week called off talks on agreeing rules for net neutrality, and has proposed extending its powers to enforce internet rules.

In June, UK communications regulator Ofcom called for comment on net neutrality as mobile network operator O2's plan to cap data traffic on its network went into force.

Ofcom is worried that network operators and ISPs could engage in anti-competitive behaviour and suppress or degrade some content from providers.

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