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Google to WSJ: google “net neutrality” and get back to us

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 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! [Tags: ]

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).

8 Responses to “Google to WSJ: google “net neutrality” and get back to us”

  1. […] its delivery; the service provider wouldn’t be deciding which content gets treated better. (David Weinberger explains this in more and better detail.) The Journal story did not provide readers with any hint of an […]

  2. […] blog americani e […]

  3. […] There has been, and will no doubt continue to be, debate about whether the Journal’s perception of Google’s behavior is correct. Some believe that Google is actually giving itself a benefit that others can’t match (except, of course, other large web companies such as Microsoft, Yahoo, Amazon, etc.). Others see it as a natural move by a large Internet company, and no threat to net neutrality at all. Whether you agree depends on what you think net neutrality is supposed to mean, and what Google’s role in it is. If you want to understand more about the issue and the way the Journal described it, read some of the links in David Weinberger’s post. […]

  4. Google’s edge caching *is* preferential treatment. Of the worst kind. To see this, you just have to take off the doctrinaire glasses of the “network neutrality” activists, who are myopically focused on the pipes and on bashing and regulating ISPs (and are also mostly funded by Google).

    Think about it. It’s obvious that Google will be able to place an edge cache at the site of any ISP it wants, probably for free. Why? Because YouTube and its related services consume SO much bandwidth that the ISP would be crazy to say no. The ISP would surely save big on its backbone connection. Terabytes per month on YouTube alone. That’s money in the bank right there. And service would be faster, too.

    But would an ISP allow just any content provider to put a cache at its sites, for free or even for money? Doubtful. Caches take up space and power and require access for maintenance. The ISP needs to be strongly motivated, by big bandwidth savings, even to consider it. And only big companies like Google have that to offer. If a small Internet startup were to call your local cable company and ask for “co-location space,” the person there would probably say, “That’s not a product we sell to the public.” That is, if the person who answered the phone at the cable company even knew what it was.

    And of course, would-be competitors of Google won’t be able to buy space on Google’s private edge caches.

    So, in what way is this neutral? Google can get its servers into places where can’t, and can make its services more responsive than the startup’s. Therefore, Google is indeed getting preferential access to infrastructure. It’s just that the infrastructure happens to be co-location space instead of pipes. And it has a big advantage there, because co-location is much more difficult to obtain than bandwidth. You can get any Internet carrier to sell you a pipe. But co-location space at ISPs, which is more cost-effective than buying pipes, isn’t necessarily even available to you unless you’re Google. So this is really, really anticompetitive. And how could anyone say it was “neutral?”

  5. Small Webmaster, I smell astroturf. Google’s edge caching system is a good idea because Google’s services consume so much of the aggregate total of bandwidth. Reducing backhaul congestion is good for everybody. But it doesn’t represent an inequitable distribution of resources. It’s not like Google isn’t paying money to maintain the CDN it is creating. (Your assertion that the ISPs would spend subscribers’ money to buy and maintain cache servers for Google is baseless.)

    “But co-location space at ISPs, which is more cost-effective than buying pipes,”

    This is wrong. If this statement were true, every web host would start their own ISP. It’s really all a question of scale. No, your ISP probably wouldn’t be interested in deploying a CDN for you, but who cares? If you really need your own dedicated CDN, you are most definitely not a Small Webmaster. If you have high bandwidth delivery needs, why not call Akamai? Paying for space on a CDN is almost always cheaper than rolling your own – and by the time it isn’t, your aggregate bandwidth is large enough to make the ISPs listen.

    There is no problem here. Why are you so concerned?

  6. […] uno spiraglio di futuro in una notizia molto discussa, anche con toni polemici, nei giorni scorsi negli Stati Uniti e in Italia. La notizia, lanciata dal Wall Street Journal, è che Google vuole fare accordi di edge […]

  7. […] […]

    Le tele di Gaetano Porcasi: “il pittore che dipinge la storia” sono uniche, oltre che per i temi di impegno e di denuncia sociale trattati, anche per la tecnica ed i colori mediterranei da cui traspare un intensa “sicilianità ” . La mostra itinerante del 2003 sulla strage di Portella delle Ginestre ha rivelato l’elevato livello culturale dell’indagine pittorica di Porcasi e l’attualità dei temi trattati. Quel che accade nella Sicilia del 1947 quando i contadini occupavano le terre incolte che volevano seminare per sfamarsi scontrandosi con i proprietari terrieri difesi dai gabelloti mafiosi, accade oggi in Brasile dove i campesinos “senza terra” vengono assassinati dai vigilantes armati dai proprietari terrieri che erigono mura in difesa dei campi incolti. Nell’immobile “fotogramma” di una tela, desueto per la civiltà delle immagini che attualmente viviamo, l’autore riesce a trasferire il patos degli eventi ed i personaggi scaturiscono come prodotto puro della sua tensione morale, suscitando intense emozioni. A far da contrappunto alle pitture storiche che raccontano gli assassini di mafia, i paesaggi di una Sicilia solare con i fichidindia, le agavi, le ginestre, gli ulivi, le arance, i limoni; patrimonio di una terra baciata da Dio e calpestata dagli uomini. Infinite le tonalità dell’azzurro con le quali Porcasi dipinge il cielo della sua terra, è da lì che ha inizio il suo viaggio nel tempo. Le pagine della storia della Sicilia, sono scritte con il sudore e il sangue dei contadini che hanno dovuto combattere a mani nude per conquistare la terra e la libertà. Le bandiere rosse, simbolo della lotta dei lavoratori d’ogni tempo si fondono con il tricolore. In fondo è un’epopea italiana, mediterranea quella che l’autore ci racconta. Bandiere rosse e tricolore sullo sfondo di cieli di un azzurro struggente che nelle opere di Porcasi cambia di tonalità a seconda degli eventi, delle stagioni, degli umori degli uomini e delle loro azioni. Testimonianza questa dell’appartenenza dell’anima al tempo ed ai suoi mutamenti. Solo la natura rigogliosa tipica di questa terra, bella, solare e mediterranea, sembra rimanere immutata, muta ed immutabile testimone degli eventi e del trascorrere del tempo. Qui gli uomini sono solo “accidenti”. In questo l’artista opera come una divisione metafisica tra la natura: flora e fauna volte naturalmente al bene ed alle leggi immutabili (naturali) e l’uomo che quando è protagonista, è anche trasgressore per interessi di parte, per egoismo sfrenato, dell’armonia del creato, attore di violenza. C’è un’anima naturalistica dell’autore che può spiegarci l’impegno di Porcasi sul fronte ecologista in difesa della terra dall’inquinamento dell’aria, dell’acqua e del suolo che gli è costato persecuzioni e denunce da parte del potere costituito. Numerose, le analogie con i dipinti di Renato Gattuso rilevati dai critici d’arte nelle opere pittoriche di Porcasi. Oltre al realismo cromatico viene invocata la sicilianità, che appare condivisa aldilà delle tecniche utilizzate, con il grande maestro di Bagheria. Il verde dell’albero d’arancio amaro con le sue foglie di un verde acceso, le spine che nascono dai rami, così come i frutti colorati di un “colore arancio” dalle tonalità cromatiche rare, testimoniano, aldilà della semplice raffigurazione cromatica anche un’indagine psicologica complessa. Dal ramo, comune sorgente, scaturiscono frutti succosi e spine, proprio come accade nella vita degli uomini, che ogni giorno sono protagonisti della storia nel bene e nel male. La sicilianità in Gaetano Porcasi, diventa allora metafora della vita, e pretesto per raccontare storie mediterranee dal contenuto universale. L’artista dipinge con un linguaggio non criptato, facilmente comprensibile a tutti, dipinge con il cuore. Aldilà delle considerazioni “etiche” resta una riconoscibilità immediata delle tele di Gaetano Porcasi, che, nell’arte d’ogni tempo, è patrimonio dato a pochi artisti. Taluni restano sorpresi nel constatare la giovane età dell’autore, dietro queste opere d’arte che sanno di maturità piena. Il futuro, per questo “siciliano puro” non sarà un semplice accidente, ma qualcosa di straordinariamente importante per il mondo dell’arte.

    Giornalista e critico d’arte
    Cosmo Di Carlo

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