A TWO TIERED INTERNET with a wireless tier that has less net neutrality protection than the wireline tier is the vision that has been set forth by Google's public policy head and Verizon's public affairs chief.
In a long statement on Google's public policy blog the two companies explained their seven key elements for the Internet's future regulation. They include for wireline no discrimination and say yes to transparency and openness, but for wireless it's another kettle of fish entirely.
When data going down a cable is inevitably going to go through the air at some point, one wonders how this can work. But anyway Alan Davidson, Google director of public policy and Tom Tauke, Verizon executive vice president of public affairs, policy, and communications said in their statement, "we both recognize that wireless broadband is different from the traditional wireline world, in part because the mobile marketplace is more competitive and changing rapidly.
"In recognition of the still-nascent nature of the wireless broadband marketplace, under this proposal we would not now apply most of the wireline principles to wireless, except for the transparency requirement."
They go on to propose that the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report to Congress annually on wireless market developments and whether consumers are protected.
So the likelihood of legislation being changed depends upon the GAO to convince Congress while the Internet and Big Media industries' lobbyists whisper in everyone's other ears. And what if this wild west approach to wireless Internet is deemed to have worked? Could wireline protections ever be rescinded?
Then there is the organisation that has to oversee all of this, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). For the FCC, Google and Verizon want it to have consumer protection and non-discrimination standards "that go beyond" what it has today.
Sounds good, but rather worse is that it would only enforce "openness policies" on a case-by-case basis, using a complaint-driven process. But who should complain and how many will need to? The penalty Google and Verizon want is $2 million for these "bad actors". Is that really enough of a deterrent? µ
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