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By Thomas Baekdal - August 2010

Google and the loss of Net Neutrality

You have probably heard about all the buzz around net neutrality, the concept of equal access to the internet.

ISPs wants to be able to limit bandwidth to certain sites. It officially prevent misuse, but in reality it is to get big companies to pay for exclusive deals to get a competitive edge.

Google, who positioned them as the defenders of net neutrality, has now done a complete 180 on the topic. Instead of promoting net neutrality, they are now saying that it should only apply to wired broadband connections, not wireless.

The set of seven proposals guarantee equal access to the internet and call for the prohibition of wired broadband providers from discriminating between different kinds of internet traffic to ensure that no-one can pay to have their traffic treated more favorably.
When it comes to wireless services, search giant Google and Verizon said the same rules would not be applied.
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,

(Via "Google and Verizon's vision for open internet" by BBC)

Also read: Google-Verizon Pact: It Gets Worse

This is just pathetic - for two reasons.

1: What do you think the future is about? Wired or Wireless internet?

We all know it is only a matter of time before the wireless internet takes over. Just as we have moved away from land-line phones, we are also going to move away from wired broadband connections.

Google want freedom when it comes to their data centers, and are sacrificing our (the consumers, the startups etc) net neutrality to settle the matter with the ISPs.

It sounds like an Open Internet, but it is much closer to what we have today.

2: Who do you think benefits from priority access when it comes to wireless broadband? Yup, Google!

With this they can pay for premium access, so that when you use GMail, things work really fast. But, when a new startup wants to do something better, they cannot get the same internet throughput.

As Adam Green said

Google, a company that I've long admired and currently hold thousands of dollars of stock in, just 'went evil.

The bottom line is: When I buy a wireless broadband connection from an ISP, I expect them to deliver whatever speed I pay for. They have no right to say: "Well, we know you have paid for a 10mbit connection, but you are only going to get the full speed when you are visiting Google's sites. If you want to use Flickr, then we only give you 5mbit."

The very idea to not have full net neutrality is simply a violation of our internet freedom. I decide what I want to use my internet connection for. No one else.

As Obama said back in February: "I'm a big believer in Net Neutrality ... we don't want to create a bunch of gateways that prevent somebody who doesn't have a lot of money, but has a good idea, from being able to start their next YouTube or their next Google on the Internet."

I'm not a socialist by any means, but I am a strong believer in equal capitalism. If I want to start a new company, I don't want my potential success to be limited because some rich dude has made a special arrangement with my ISP.

Let the best service win. That's what a free market is all about. That's what net neutrality is all about.

That's our basic right!


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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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