Stephen Schultze as usual has a helpful post on the WSJ’s misreporting of Google’s supposed violation of the Net neutrality principle that Google has long supported. Steve points to Google’s Rick Whitt’s reply and to an aggregation of posts that makes it clear that this issue is being spun — and rather clumsily — by the WSJ into something it isn’t.
David Isenberg provides excellent, fightin’ analysis, including the following:
In other words, if Google does edge caching it buys access. It’s the same as when I, as a residential customer, pay $34.95 for one megabit DSL service or $49.95 for 3 megabit DSL.
cThe concern of Network Neutrality advocates is not with access but with delivery. The fear is that Internet connection providers would charge for expedited delivery of certain content to the end user, and in so doing would put themselves in the business of classifying which content gets enhanced delivery. Since they were charging for expedited delivery, they’d get more revenue for improving the enhanced delivery, so the only network upgrades would be for the enhanced service. Non-enhanced would fall further and further behind. Plus the power to decide what gets delivered might, indeed, be powerful, and power corrupts; just ask NARAL.
Since the edge caching Google is proposing is about access, not delivery, there’s no problem.
Net neutrality is not about everyone having equal access to the Net. Net neutrality is not about Google (or Microsoft or WSJ.com) being able to pay for fatter pipes, faster servers, or fancy-pants caching equipment that keeps the most-requested pages in memory and ready to go. Net neutrality is about not letting the carriers decide whose bits are more important than others once those bits have entered the network. It’s about the carriers not slowing down the Internet telephony bits from competitors or delaying your YouTube bits because the carriers think their “The Nanny” re-run bits are more important.
I do have to stand in admiration of whatever PR person pitched this story to WSJ. Masterfully done!
LATER: Scott Rosenberg on the inadequacy of the WSJ’s response. Harold Feld on what Google is up to. Tim Karr on the entrenchment of Net neutrality. Richard Bennett on why this is non-news (and why Net neutrality is non-neutral, or at least a myth).
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