Google and Verizon have finally revealed a proposal that, according to Google, will defend net neutrality while also allowing a broadband network of premium services. Net neutrality is the idea that Internet providers, like Verizon, should not be able to restrict traffic on the web based on the traffic’s content. The proposal can ultimately change what open Internet is all about, despite Google’s aim for protecting users.
For one, the proposal will allow wireless networks to be exempt from the net neutrality regulation. They can maintain their own private Internet and allow companies to pay for faster traffic. Second, according to PC World, the proposal “would also create a two-tiered Internet with a net neutral public Internet (the World Wide Web we use today), and a private non-neutral Internet for premium services.” Many are questioning what will happen to regular Internet as we now know it considering the exemptions.
Opponents of the agreement say that net neutrality will not hold up as long as wireless networks are involved. Google defends its case with an argument that open Internet for the public is not going to change. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will have the authority to enforce neutrality and intervene when service providers fail to comply with nondiscrimination rules, including any attempts to reduce broadband capacity. These nondiscirimination rules, however, have yet to be determined.
What you can get with premium services is going to be different than content available on regular Internet. This includes gaming channels, secure banking, medical services, education services and, of course, entertainment. The costs for premium services and how they are going to be bundled into packages are still in question.
The ideas laid out in the proposal appear to be problematic according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and “threaten to completely undermine the stated goal of neutrality.” The EFF has further broken down what they believe are some of the issues with the proposed ideas in the Google and Verizon net neutrality agreement. The proposal is available for review on both Google’s and Verizon’s public policy blogs.