Take that FCC! Google, Verizon partner up on 'open' Internet

Just days after FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski warned that he really didn't like the idea of Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) teaming up on their own broadband access deal, the two companies have done just that, stirring a pot of boiling resentment among the net neutrality crowd.

The Verizon-Google message, as outlined in a "Legislative Framework Proposal" is the result of a collaborative effort to "preserve the open Internet and the vibrant and innovative markets it supports." In defense of that plan, Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg co-authored (or at least someone in their PR staffs made it seem like they did) an opinion piece in today's Washington Post.

"Our companies have long supported the FCC's openness principles toward wireline broadband, and we also believe that blocking and degrading Internet traffic is antithetical to the principle of openness and to consumers' expectations," the two allegedly wrote.

While the collaboration addresses net neutrality, hardly anyone was neutral about its suggestions. The FCC, at least Commissioner Michael Copps, saw the announcement as a harbinger that things are not moving as quickly in Washington as they should. "It is time to move a decision forward--a decision to reassert FCC authority over broadband telecommunications, to guarantee an open Internet now and forever," he stated.

Consumer Watchdog issued a news release saying the broadband proposal "pays lip service to the idea of net neutrality" and is "nothing more than two corporations meeting together and trying to carve up the Internet for their own advantage."

And while the NCTA was generally supportive of the deal, in the cautious way a cable organization can be supportive of a deal offered up by a telephone company Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) said nothing--at least publicly. But it was breezy over the Philadelphia metro area yesterday as execs in the Comcast Tower all exhaled at once. The FCC--and the general public--had been given something else to dither about that wasn't the Comcast-NBC Universal deal.

For more:
- Scribd reprinted the legislative framework proposal
- The Washington Post has this story
- see Consumer Watchdog's news release
- Wired has this story
- and Broadcasting & Cable this story

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