Today’s Washington Post has a second day editorial from the CEOs of Verizon and Google on their proposed legislative framework first announced Monday. Here it is:
Eric Schmidt and Ivan Seidenberg – From Google and Verizon, a path to an open Internet
I read this article three times and I am still not sure what exactly the two are trying to express, or what problem they are trying to solve. Are Google and Verizon in violent disagreement, but together have decided they can live with this compromise? Did the FCC ask the two to sit in a room and not come out till they had an agreement? If so, why?
And what kind of agreement is this? What’s the predicate? What obstacle stands in their way such that they had to get in the room in the first place? Is it really an enlightened attempt by two giants to further debate around a key policy issue? Or is it something else?
As it stands, this piece feels written by committee, and while it may not be fair to say this, it gives me the sense that the two parties are colluding in some way, creating and/or obscuring potential loopholes which will allow side deals in other parts of their business. In particular it raises my eyebrows as it relates to mobile, which the two companies suggest should be outside the framework. This feels forced. Something else is up. Does this have to do with Android, which has become to Verizon what the iPhone is to AT&T? Apple, after all, has pretty much got AT&T pinned down (though lord knows net neutrality ain’t gonna fly in Steve Jobs’ version of the Interwebs). I imagine Verizon, whose partner Google is well known for its pro-net neutrality stance, is not too happy with how the chess game might have played out. Did Verizon force Google into this position?
Because the position feels, well, not particularly “Googley”.
I’d love to be wrong. But this piece doesn’t make be comfortable. I’ll keep digging in, and if you have seen anything that might enlighten me, let me know. The proposal is here. More links as folks start to digest the news:
Google-Verizon plan: Why you should worry (Salon) Dan Gillmor’s analysis. In essence, he is arguing that the framework creates two Internets, one open and public, but over time ignored as an investment platform, the second private and fast, but expensive and dictated by corporations. Ick.
Google-Verizon Pact: It Gets Worse (HuffPo) A rant from the Free Press, which has been all over this since the beginning. Biased, but compelling.
Google and Verizon Offer a Vision for Managing Internet Traffic (NYT) The Times’ news take. Sums up the concerns pretty well.