I was a little exorcised last night when I read about Google and Verizon possibly two-timing the FCC on net neutrality. In the middle of industry/FCC discussion (at least nine meetings in seven weeks), Google and Verizon reportedly reached a deal to privilege YouTube bits.
My gut response was along the lines of “so this is what ‘do no evil’ means?”
Google’s Eric Schmidt “declined to confirm” the Verizon deal yesterday, but it also sounds as though he did not deny it:
“We’re trying to find solutions that bridge between sort of the ‘hard-core Net neutrality or else’ view and the historic telecom view of no such agreement,” Schmidt told reporters on the sidelines of the Techonomy conference…”
And what, exactly, does “hard-core Net neutrality” mean? In 2006, Schmidt wrote:
Today the Internet is an information highway where anybody – no matter how large or small, how traditional or unconventional – has equal access. But the phone and cable monopolies, who control almost all Internet access, want the power to choose who gets access to high-speed lanes and whose content gets seen first and fastest. They want to build a two-tiered system and block the on-ramps for those who can’t pay.
But the leaked agreement describes a two-tiered system based on payment.
What do you think? A trial balloon? Someone who wanted to sabotage any potential side-deal between the two?