Now that Google and Verizon have circumvented the FCC to develop their own policy, without the involvement of the public, what will this mean for net neutrality?

Following is Guardian writer Mehan Jayasuriya’s perspective:

This week’s traffic prioritisation agreement between Google and Verizon (another one of the largest providers in the US) serves as a prime example of what will happen in the absence of clear rules of the road for ISPs. Two large companies have negotiated in private and have reached an agreement on how internet traffic should be managed.

On the surface, this agreement doesn’t look too nefarious. Verizon has agreed to respect the end-to-end principle on its wired networks and Google has reiterated its commitment to net neutrality. However, the proposal specifically excludes wireless internet services. The agreement also proposes that so-called “managed services” on the wired network – essentially fast lanes carved out of the bandwidth currently used by the internet – be exempt from any rules that govern the web.

Finally, and perhaps most troubling, Google and Verizon have suggested that industry-led advisery groups write the rules for what’s left of the internet. In matters of consumer protection and nondiscrimination, the FCC’s actions would be subject to approval by the very companies that the agency is meant to oversee.

It’s clear why this proposal is attractive to Google and Verizon. With net neutrality out of the picture, Verizon would be free to extract additional fees from content providers and users in exchange for access to the fast lanes. Google is large enough that it could afford to pay these fees, thereby assuring speedy delivery of its content and a competitive advantage.


From techdirt

Mobile Operators Want Anything that Might Force Them to Compete… Taken Out of Stimulus Bill

from the hey,-your-policy-goal-chocolate-is-in-my-government-handout-peanut-butter dept

As debate over the massive economic stimulus bill continues, the trade group representing US mobile operators has weighed in, with its head, former-NFL-star-turned-congressman-turned-shill Steve Largent, saying that unless open-access rules are removed from the broadband section of the bill, carriers will be “hesitant to participate”. News to Steve: the stimulus bill, and this section, aren’t necessarily intended merely to further line the pockets of incumbent mobile operators. While he thinks open-access rules “will deter providers from taking advantage of the grant program,” one would have to imagine that if incumbents sat on the sidelines, plenty of new entrants would be more than willing to open their businesses to the government support and use it to craft new mobile broadband networks that would provide some much-needed competition in the space. Furthermore, such open access requirements didn’t stop Verizon from shelling out several billion dollars for spectrum licenses last year. It seems that the CTIA loves it some stimulus — as long as it doesn’t stimulate any potential competition for its members.

Carlo Longino is an expert at the Insight Community.

SF Chronicle Technology and Business writer Ryan Kim wrote a piece today, “Cutting out the cords,” on the expected transition from landline with/cell phone supplement arrangement, to full reliance on the cell phone; even at home.

By switching to wi-fi networks in their homes, cell phone users will soon be able to ditch their landlines…

Now, I ditched my landline more than two years ago, as I’m sure many others have, especially in Silicon Valley.

But beyond simply getting rid of landlines and phone utility service, Ryan is talking about an expanded function of the cell phone as we know it today.

T-Mobile is testing a dual-mode phone that will allow users to make phone calls from both a cellular network, as well as a wi-fi network. They are expected to conduct a trial run before the end of the year.

Why is this a big deal? The expectation is that the coming dual-mode phones will enable you to take a cellular call, move within range of the wi-fi environment, in your home or elsewhere, and switch to the wi-fi network without the call being effected. And, once you switch to the wi-fi network, that rapid rolling ticker of cellular minutes comes to a stop!

What else?

– Mobile providers will be able to offer customers more services, allowing customers to download big files or receive applications, not currently possible on current devices.

ABI Research reported in September that it expects more than 330 million dual-mode phones will be sold by 2011.

I will welcome this pending personal/professional telecom option that is expected to provide near perfect in-home reception, without relying solely on cellular minute-based plans.