Google and Verizon proposed a new regulatory framework that they say could calm the heated network neutrality debate.
The idea that the network of networks we call the Internet should be open, so that data can flow unfettered from any node to any other node is part of the mythology and operation of the current system. But companies build and own those networks. Their corporate missions -- capturing maximum profit from investment in infrastructure -- don't include openness.
As you might expect, people who use the network (big Internet companies) have tended to favor net neutrality, while the people who build and operate the network (broadband providers) have opposed it.
That's what makes the Google-Verizon proposal interesting. It's a compromise between traditional adversaries, but from what we can tell from its brief two pages, it doesn't seem likely to make net neutrality advocates happy.
First, Google and Verizon separate wireless from wireline networks. On the former, net neutrality would not have to apply. Wireless bandwidth providers would only have to provide "transparency," so that we can all see if AT&T has cut a deal with a particular content provider.
"Because of the unique technical and operational characteristics of wireless networks, and the competitive and still-developing nature of wireless broadband services, only the transparency principle would apply to wireless broadband at this time," the companies wrote.