Google and Verizon have an idea of what the open internet of the future might look like, and today announced a policy proposal that the FCC – and eventually Congress – may take into consideration as they wade through these issues.
Leaving aside the meat of their proposal for a second, the deal is a good financial move. Internet carriers and internet services figure to have different opinions, and those entities are already spending a lot of money in Washington. By agreeing on something now, these companies could save millions in lobbying and grassroots campaigns later.
But beyond the strategy is the actual proposal, and there are two items which stand out. First, the proposal only applies to wireline internet carriers – the people who plug the internet into your house, also typically known as your cable company. Verizon’s FiOS service is also under that plan, but unlike those carriers, Verizon also has mobile access points to the internet through Android smartphones.
The second is that, while the proposal does call for “transparency” among internet service providers, it makes no such call for transparency or “search neutrality” from the other companies that serve as gatekeepers – notably, Google and Facebook, the companies which provide the lenses through which you see the internet.
The result is a plan which does choose some losers, but which allow its proponents to maintain their business practices. So the deal is a good move in more ways than simply keeping lobbying costs down, if you’re Google or Verizon.