3.19.2007

Bloggers Worry Google Might Reverse Its Position On Net Neutrality

Bloggers Worry Google Might Reverse Its Position On Net Neutrality


Drew Clark over at GigaOM asks a great question: Does Google plan to change its position on net neutrality? It seems that while Google has been the foremost business booster for net neutrality in public, the online company has been cutting deals with the carriers to be their preferred provider.

Google Senior Policy Counsel Andrew McLaughlin made some interesting remarks at the Tech Policy Summit in San Jose on Feb. 27:
Cutting the FCC out the picture would probably be a smart move. It is much better to think of this as an FTC or unfair competition type of problem.

Compare this with comments from Google's Vint Cerf during Senate testimony just one year earlier:
For the foreseeable future most Americans will face little choice among broadband carriers. Enshrining a rule that permits carriers to discriminate in favor of certain kinds or sources of services would place those carriers in control of online activity. Allowing broadband carriers to reserve huge amounts of bandwidth for their own services will not give consumers the broadband Internet our country and economy need.

McLaughlin's comments are apparently causing bloggers to worry. These comments also are making people inside Google, as well as some of Google's partners in the fight for net neutrality, a little uncomfortable.

Is this an example of an attorney just trying to keep options open or does it hint at a shift in Google's strategy? What do you think? Is Google about to sell out on net neutrality or is it just trying to find some wiggle room?

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