A Federal Communications Commissioner has condemned the Verizon-Google take on net neutrality. Michael Copps (pictured) said the public should not stand for deals “that exchange Internet freedom for bloated profits.”
Copps was speaking at a public hearing in Albuquerque titled “The Future Of The Internet.” Among the topics he addressed was a proposal by Google and Verizon to settle the ongoing debate about net neutrality. The two companies argued that the principle of all traffic being treated equally should be enforced, but only for wired communications, with wireless internet not regulated in such a manner.
They also called for an exemption for “additional, differentiated online services, in addition to the Internet access and video services”, such that services that were “distinguishable from traditional broadband Internet access services” were not covered by net neutrality.
At the time Copps criticized the idea, but in this week’s speech he took a much firmer line:
The world envisioned by the Verizon-Google Gaggle was one built of private Internets that would vastly diminish the centrality of the Internet that you and I know. They want a tiered Internet. “Managed services” is what they call this. “Gated communities for the Affluent” is what I call them.
Despite the criticism, Copps said the responsibility to deal with the issue was for the commission: ” I suppose you can’t blame companies for seeking to protect their own interests. But you can blame policy-makers if we let them get away with it.”
Copps also took a swipe at the FCC’s own previous actions in agreeing to reclassify broadband internet as an information rather than communications service, thus heavily reducing its own regulatory powers on the issue.
While Copps was on the offensive, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski was a little more restrained. He told the Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco, “I would have preferred if [Verizon and Google] didn’t do exactly what they did when they did it. It had the effect of slowing down some processes.”