Google’s Confusing Neutrality Proposal

by on June 20, 2007 · 0 comments

Google’s new blog has a post laying out their position on network neutrality. I’m probably missing something, but it strikes me as rather incoherent:

What kind of behavior is okay?

  • Prioritizing all applications of a certain general type, such as streaming video;
  • Managing their networks to, for example, block certain traffic based on IP address in order to prevent harmful denial of service (DOS) attacks, viruses or worms;
  • Employing certain upgrades, such as the use of local caching or private network backbone links;
  • Providing managed IP services and proprietary content (like IPTV); and
  • Charging consumers extra to receive higher speed or performance capacity broadband service.
  • On the other hand:

    What isn’t okay?

  • Levying surcharges on content providers that are not their retail customers;
  • Prioritizing data packet delivery based on the ownership or affiliation (the who) of the content, or the source or destination (the what) of the content; or
  • Building a new “fast lane” online that consigns Internet content and applications to a relatively slow, bandwidth-starved portion of the broadband connection.
  • So if Verizon builds a 30 Mbps pipe to consumers’ homes, and allocates 25 Mbps to a proprietary IPTV service (“Providing managed IP services and proprietary content”) and 5 Mbps to public Internet traffic, is that OK? What if they then consign all video traffic (“all applications of a certain general type”) in the public Internet to the lowest priority, rendering it effectively unusable? And can they then syndicate content from third parties through their IPTV service?

    If so, I don’t understand what network neutrality is supposed to accomplish. If not, how am I mis-reading Google’s proposal?

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