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Verizon, Google and the future of the Internet

Something happened this week that could lead to a fundamental change in our ability to get information we want, anytime, online.

On Monday, a giant telecom company and a monster Internet company joined forces to release the Verizon-Google legislative framework proposal. The document describes how these two companies think the Internet should work in the future. At the core of the proposal is the creation of a two-tiered Internet. And the tier that costs more gets better service.

It won’t be consumers paying up. It will be those with deep pockets, like Fox News, NBC Universal, Amazon — companies that can pay to have their content more prominently placed, and presented at a higher quality.

All week long, business and tech blogs have exploded with debate about whether the proposal is a pact for good or for evil. At the heart of it is the big battle over “net neutrality,” which has a lot of subtleties. To help us understand this all a little better is Need to Know contributor Rick Karr.

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  • karen williams

    I’m opposed to the take-over by Google, Verizon or any other media monopoly of the internet. And what gives these monopoloies the right to dictate the terms of FCC regulation. I’m aghast that the Obama adminstration & Congress (No surprise) have done ZERO to re-establish the the govt. agency as THE regulatory body for the internet, acting in the public interest. The main problem is that the media giants ARE monopolies– just like AIG, JP Morgan, Bank of America and the economic oligarchy that’s running what was once, our country– run by & serving we the people. The media giants are the new technological/digital oligarcy and I’m 100% opposed to their take-over of the internet. 100% net neutrality regulated by a govt agency serving the PUBLIC interest is what democracy is supposed to be about!

  • Rdoug52

    Why does the government want to control any part of the internet?It has managed to get along just find without any help from them.I saw the dude you had own your show.You could have ask him tougher questions and you didn’t. Let’s keep the internet free of government control of any kind. Let it be for all the people.Free speech for everyone.No control by any political force.

  • Rdoug52

    Rick Karr is not neutral in net neutrality. He is very much Liberal. You guys tried to pass him off as a neutral voice. Luckily the net is still free and I was able to check the dude out. I recommend to everyone to do this while we still can. PS. Your show is so biased.You could have ask Glen Beck to be on their. At least he tells the truth.

  • Rdoug52

    Am I the only one that sees a problem when 2 large corporations try to exert control over the internet?

  • Rdoug52

    Dear Karen.Do you really think goverment control oft he internet is in our best interest?Democracy is about freedom of choice. At this moment the internet is free. In some countries it is not.They control the information their citizens get and I am sure it’s in their best interest.NOT. If you notice it’s the Communist and Socialist countries of the world that control the news. If you disagree you will never be heard. Anybody at anytime can voice their opinion even you. I don’t need a Gov.looking after my best interests. I can do that on my own.

  • ED-MAN

    Is anyone concerned where the billions in Education funding is going to end up? It will not be teacher, schools or student needs. It will be corporate pensions and bonuses through internet fees and subscriptions.

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  • jan

    The search engines have already perverted the internet to some extent. Before the search engines, google being a major offender, got the happy idea of sending a quest for educational information off in the direction of commercial websites you were able to find information on various topics on the internet easily. Now you have to apply your own screening tool as part of your search. I can only imagine what damage they’re planning to do eventually.

    I think the google-verizon partnership will destroy the internet for the average person. Part of the attraction of the internet was the freedom from endless commercials being forced on you via tv. If they push it through and I have no reason to doubt that they will succeed, I will probably use the internet much less in my free time.

    And the talk about freezing pictures, etc.? You must not try to watch hdtv on outdoor antenna tv. If you go the route of outdoor antenna, you run the risk of the picture freezing, loss of signal, and other irritations just when the show gets to an interesting point. I’ve begun to buy dvds which are already becoming obsolete due to the relentless drive by business to get ever last penny we ever thought we had in our pockets. …We’ve become far too commercially and profit oriented. Its getting to the point where you wonder what you can do that won’t require an entrance fee, an access fee, or some other type of charge.

  • Chris Presnell

    I guess I’m ahead of the trend… I’ve hated Google since day 1!!! Why do people put google-analytics on their web pages? That basically gives google COMPLETE access to your website logs since they duplicate them by tracking every hit to your website. Worse still, we give them that tracking information for free!!! Now they want to take over the Internet by eliminating the very openness which made it. If I had wanted that from the Internet, I’d be an America Online subscriber!!! Google, stick to being a sub-par, biased search engine and let the public decide what happens to the greatest computer network ever built (of which we ALL are members, not just Google).

  • Chris Presnell

    If Google-Verizon do get their way, we should all start using different DNS servers in our computers’ Internet settings which would bypass the Google-Verizon website direction. Chinese citizens do this all the time to access websites the Chinese government blocks through DNS filtering. My own DNS server on my webserver was being used by Russian Federation citizens (to my frustration since they were sucking up my home DSL bandwidth do to so) so I know it can be done. Let’s use technology to fight these international corporations!

  • Jennifer

    I just love how people are soooo quick to play the blame game here.

    Two major corporations seek to change the internet and it’s Obama and Congress’ fault? Do they own these companies? The fault should be placed on the people that continue to patronize the big businesses that run the country. If you don’t like their plans, don’t give them your business!!! How much control will they be able to buy if the little guy becomes a thousand, or a million little guys? We, the people, still have a voice here. We just have to use it.

  • Jane

    This is just WRONG and cannot be tolerated.

    Senator Al Franken (DFL – Minnesota) has introduced legistation that addresses these key issues:
    *Trend of media consolidation will mean end of free and open internet
    *Mergers such as Comcast-NBC/Universal would control information flow
    *Far from “neutral,” gatekeepers could discriminate on political views, who pays more

    This is a bipartisan issue; we ALL have a stake in preserving First Amendment, politics aside.

  • Jane

    The ‘net should not be regulated or influenced by anyone. Period. No government interference – beyond preventing commerical takeover – no fee-grubbing, cost-influence commercial interference.

  • Adam

    >Why does the government want to control any part of the internet?It has managed to get along just find without any help from them.

    Did you happen to miss the part where the government (ARPAnet) created the internet? Or the part where the World Wide Web (not the same thing as Internet) was created by an employee at CERN (a publicly funded European research center)? Truth is, government(s) played a huge role on the development of the Internet, and wouldn’t have gotten along fine without them. In fact, most protocols of the internet are handled mostly by non-profit and/or governmental agencies, instead of by for-profit businesses.

    In my personal opinion, internet shouldn’t discriminate between carriers. It stifles competition (bias against new/low-budget contenders) and just reinforces monopolies, which can already be seen in the DSL/Cable markets. If you want to promote free market ideals and an even playing field for all, net neutrality is the place to do it.

  • Robert

    Against, totally against the 2 companies trying to EVEN propose this. We need to fight. We have so little and companies always try to take it all away. We need to hold on to the good thing that we got. Net Neutrality is American.

  • Dee

    Its all about more control over everything you do and the government tracking what you can and cannot do. We are losing more and more freedom everyday , and are being told its because we don’t know any better. The government knows whats best for you. Your job,your money, your investments, your children, your health , how you live . Its all going out the window when you lose your Liberty and Freedoms.

  • GDog

    @RDoug52: Who cares if the reporter is a liberal? I think the piece pretty much made it obvious that net neutrality is a bipartisan issue… the ACLU and Christian Coalition… the NRA and Move On… all against the merger. Is it a big surprise that most folks at not-CNN and not-FOXNews are against the merger? I think the piece was informative and balanced. If you are so into Beck, then why and the hell are you tuning into pbs? As news sources, they are as different as…. say…. creationism and science.

  • Dave

    Weak conversation on net-neutrality barely scratches the surface. Sheesh, government control of the internet is public control. We need the government involved exactly like FCC involvement in managing frequencies and “our” airwaves. FCC takes proposals from everyone. Who cares. If you don’t like it get off the fence and get involved yourself.

    No mention about the FCC formally issued draft net neutrality regulation on the table now? It allows for “Reasonable network management”; “Reasonable network management consists of reasonable practices employed by a provider of broadband Internet access service to [...] (i) reduce or mitigate the effects of congestion on its network or to address quality-of-service concerns; [...] (iii) prevent the transfer of unlawful content; or (iv) prevent the unlawful transfer of content.”

    The FCC should not allow an ISP to slow down the network for any other reason. So, how does charging one content provider a higher rate mitigate the effects of congestion? It doesn’t. It’s something that would be hard to hide from the public.

    But look at parts (iii) and (iv) makes ISPs the copyright cops for MPAA and RIAA. Tweaking the network should not about protect copyrights.

    Under the proposed plans, ISPs could simply manage their networks by slowing down connections that use “too many” TCP connections, one of the key characteristics of BitTorrent traffic that started the debate years ago.

    Anyways, everyone likes the wired part of the Google/Version proposed plan to the FCC. What about the proposed FCC plan? Nothing. Wireless is altogether another story.

  • Bloodyscot

    Government over all control is has been critical for net neutrality and that is the problem for many monopolies who want more control to limit competition. Example is how can US Newspapers compete with free websites or free News sites from other counties that are Gov. subsidized.

    In a way there is a tier system now, your access speed, Internet providers are increasing access speeds faster than they are the backbone to make bigger profits.
    Universities and long distance phone companies with Gov. oversight helped mold the current internet, do not let a few multinational companies destroy it.