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Google, Verizon Close To Net Neutrality Deal

August 5, 2010

According to various media reports, Google and Verizon are closing on in a deal which would determine how Internet traffic moves across land lines and to wireless devices.

According to Josh Halliday of the UK newspaper The Guardian, “The two companies have been in talks over net neutrality–the unwritten edict of the internet which puts all content on a level playing field–for around 10 months, but a deal could be struck within days”¦ Such a deal would mean the information superhighway may be about to get a lot faster for those willing to pay.”

The potential deal could ultimately become the basis both for federal legislation and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) policy on the net neutrality issue, claims AP Technology Writer Joelle Tessler. Tessler also says that FCC officials have been trying to negotiate with phone, cable, and Internet companies in order to reach a widespread compromise over the treatment of broadband traffic across various telecom networks.

“Public interest groups and a number of big Internet companies, including Google and online calling service Skype, say such rules are needed to prevent broadband providers from becoming online gatekeepers,” Tessler says in a Thursday article. “They are particularly concerned that the phone and cable companies could start charging extra for priority access, or could slow or even block Internet phone calls, online video and other Web services that compete with their core businesses.”

“But the phone and cable companies argue that after investing billions in their networks, they need to be able earn a return on their massive investments by offering premium services. They also insist that they need flexibility to manage network traffic so that high-bandwidth applications don’t eat up too much capacity and slow down their systems for everyone else,” the AP reporter adds.

Under the agreement, Verizon has promised not to block or slow online traffic over landlines, but could and might ultimately do so to cellphones and other wireless devices, according to what sources told John Poirier of Reuters on Thursday. Sources also told Poirier that there is currently no timetable for an official announcement regarding the compromise between the two companies.

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