Google and Verizon on Monday introduced a proposal for how Internet service should be regulated ”” and were immediately criticized by groups that favor keeping the network as open as possible.
According to the proposal, Internet service providers would not be able to block producers of online content or offer them a paid ”œfast lane.” It says the Federal Communications Commission should have the authority to stop or fine any rule-breakers.
The proposal, however, carves out exceptions for Internet access over cellphone networks, and for potential new services that broadband providers could offer. In a joint blog post, the companies said these could include things like health care monitoring, ”œadvanced educational services, or new entertainment and gaming options.”
But some proponents of net neutrality say that by excluding wireless and other online services, Google and Verizon are creating a loophole that could allow carriers to circumvent regulation meant to ensure openness.
The plan ”œcreates an Internet for the haves and an Internet for the have-nots,” said Andrew Jay Schwartzman, senior vice president and policy director at the Media Access Project, an advocacy group in Washington and a member, along with Google, of the Open Internet Coalition. ”œIt may make some services unaffordable for consumers and access to those services unavailable to new start-ups.”
One F.C.C. commissioner came out against the proposal. ”œSome will claim this announcement moves the discussion forward. That’s one of its many problems,” the commissioner, Michael J. Copps, said in a statement. ”œIt is time to move a decision forward ”” a decision to reassert F.C.C. authority over broadband telecommunications, to guarantee an open Internet now and forever, and to put the interests of consumers in front of the interests of giant corporations.”