August 5, 2010

Genachowski’s Dithering ==> The Tiered Internet? [7:38 am]

It seems like it’s an endemic problem with this administration: talk big to your constituents, then hesitate in the face of every critique while the opposition offers up “workable” compromises — until there’s nothing left. The FCC has had time to get broadband regulation in hand, but we are instead going to find ourselves living with a “market” solution: Google and Verizon in Talks on Selling Internet Priority [pdf]

Google and Verizon, two leading players in Internet service and content, are nearing an agreement that could allow Verizon to speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content’s creators are willing to pay for the privilege.

[...] Such an agreement could overthrow a once-sacred tenet of Internet policy known as net neutrality, in which no form of content is favored over another. In its place, consumers could soon see a new, tiered system, which, like cable television, imposes higher costs for premium levels of service.

Any agreement between Verizon and Google could also upend the efforts of the Federal Communications Commission to assert its authority over broadband service, which was severely restricted by a federal appeals court decision in April.

Later: an NYTimes convened discussion — Who Gets Priority on the Web?; Larry, Z and others!

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