Google CEO Eric SchmidtVerizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg

Net neutrality and the idea of an open Internet have been at the center of contentious debates of late. It has been a confusing issue and one that remains perplexing to this day. I have outlined what has happened in the past week, some of the problems inherent in our current broadband system and summarized Google and Verizon’s proposal, which was announced Monday. Hopefully this will erase some of the confusion that exists. Let's dive into it after the break.

Last week, the New York Times ran a story that suggested Google and Verizon had agreed to a deal that would allow Verizon to prioritize Internet traffic based on who paid the most. This obviously upset a lot of people and went against the open web that Google and Verizon have said they have always stood for. They both came out very publicly against the article, saying adamantly that the information was false.

It may have been planned already or due to the hysteria last week, but Google and Verizon held a conference call Monday with media outlets outlining a proposal that they submitted to the FCC regarding net neutrality. Their proposal calls for a sustained open Internet that will be made possible with certain policy changes and an increased role of the FCC.

The main problem: Private Internet service providers (ISPs) want to discriminate against certain web traffic and give more broadband to others. The way they decide this can be from personal preference, whoever pays more, or to stifle the competition. Obviously this is a bad thing and nobody wants this to happen.

There are two solutions to this problem:

  1. Allow competition to force the private companies to change
  2. Let the FCC regulate the industry

Ideally, the former sounds like a good plan. More ISPs will drive down prices and force more transparency while making everything better for the consumer. However, there is one fatal flaw to this plan: competition is pretty much non-existant in this industry. There are other options for accessing the web (satellite, dial up, etc...), however, if you want high speed access, you’re more than likely stuck with whichever provider has a monopoly in your area.

So how about plan number 2? The Internet has always been an open industry that has thrived on little to no regulation. Many fear that if the FCC starts to regulate it, they will find ways to keep regulating and eventually we’ll end up with an over-regulated space that doesn’t foster innovation. Between ISP monopolies and FCC regulation, it seems as if we are between a rock and a hard place.

Google and Verizon have been talking extensively and have made a lengthy proposal to the FCC, inviting certain regulations.

Here are several of the key items in the proposal: 

  1. Their proposal would make key elements of the Internet openness principles enforceable, meaning that ISPs are required to allow consumers to use whichever applications, services and devices they choose
  2. They suggest that in addition to the already set in stone principles, there should be another, which will also be subject to enforceability. This relates to discriminatory practices (ISPs would not be able to prioritize some web traffic over others)
  3. The third item would provide greater transparency and produce a larger knowledgeable consumer base. It would require ISPs to provide clear, understandable information about their services and regulations
  4. Fourthly, their proposal would create a new enforceability mechanism for the FCC. The agency would decide disputes on a case-to-case basis and would be complaint driven
  5. A fifth part of the proposal involves the encouragement that broadband providers enter other sectors such as what Verizon did with FIOS TV.
  6. Sixth, most of the proposals will not apply to the wireless world. In fact, it would require the Government Accountability Office to provide annual reviews of the current state of wireless broadband, to determine if these principles need to be applied in the space or not
  7. Seventh, they support reform of the Federal Universal Service Fund in order to allow more people to connect to the Internet


Immediately following the conference call and ever since, journalists and bloggers have been vociferously attacking the two giants.

Check out these pieces for more analysis:

Jeff Jarvis: “Internet, Schminternet” http://www.buzzmachine.com/2010/08/10/internet-schminternet/

Stacey Higginbotham (Giga Om): “Tech Companies, Google Sold You Out” http://gigaom.com/2010/08/09/tech-companies-google-sold-you-out/

Larry Downes (CNET): “What the Google-Verizon proposal really says” http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-20013212-38.html

Eric Schmidt & Ivan Seidenberg (Google & Verizon): "From Google and Verizon, a path to an open internet" http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/09/AR2010080905647.html

Why are they receiving such vehement attacks? Simple: they want to differentiate between wired and wireless web traffic. Their proposals are aimed the hard wire lines, so that broadband providers cannot discriminate. They say next to nothing (except the annual review) about wireless, which leads many to believe that they would like to see prioritized wireless web traffic. Such an action would be like an act of betrayal, many believe, by the very company that claims to stand for openness. We are going to continue to monitor the situation and the developments, which we’re sure there will be many.

Hopefully this clears up some of the confusion. Google and Verizon are trying to keep an open web, but have obviously made sacrifices for it (such as proposing to increase the FCC’s power and excluding wireless traffic). Naturally some will love it and some will hate it. Whatever your opinion is, please make up your mind once you have all of the correct facts, not some rumor floating around the open web. I encourage you to read as much as you can on the subject, as it is one of the most important technology issues of our time. [Google Public Policy Blog]

 

Reader comments

Google and Verizon's proposal for a continued open (wired) Internet (and a larger FCC)

41 Comments

Wrong. They are NOT trying to keep the internet open.

Craig Aaron's article on huffingtonpost summarizes quite well the problems with this BS proposal by Verizon and Google (now evil):

"Real Net Neutrality means that Internet service providers can't discriminate between different kinds of online content and applications. It guarantees a level playing field for all Web sites and Internet technologies. It's what makes sure the next Google, out there in a garage somewhere, has just as good a chance as any giant corporate behemoth to find its audience and thrive online.

1. Under their proposal, there would be no Net Neutrality on wireless networks -- meaning anything goes, from blocking websites and applications to pay-for-priority treatment.

2. Their proposed standard for "non-discrimination" on wired networks is so weak that actions like Comcast's widely denounced blocking of BitTorrent would be allowed.

3. The deal would let ISPs like Verizon -- instead of Internet users like you -- decide which applications deserve the best quality of service. That's not the way the Internet has ever worked, and it threatens to close the door on tomorrow's innovative applications. (If RealPlayer had been favored a few years ago, would we ever have gotten YouTube?)

4. The deal would allow ISPs to effectively split the Internet into "two pipes" -- one of which would be reserved for "managed services," a pay-for-play platform for content and applications. This is the proverbial toll road on the information superhighway, a fast lane reserved for the select few, while the rest of us are stuck on the cyber-equivalent of a winding dirt road.

5. The pact proposes to turn the Federal Communications Commission into a toothless watchdog, left fruitlessly chasing consumer complaints but unable to make rules of its own. Instead, it would leave it up to unaccountable (and almost surely industry-controlled) third parties to decide what the rules should be.
If there's a silver lining in this whole fiasco it's that, last I checked anyway, it wasn't up to Google and Verizon to write the rules. That's why we have Congress and the FCC.

Certainly by now we should have learned -- from AIG, Massey Energy, BP, you name it -- what happens when we let big companies regulate themselves or hope they'll do the right thing.

We need the FCC -- with the backing of Congress and President Obama -- to step and do the hard work of governing. That means restoring the FCC's authority to protect Internet users and safeguarding real Net Neutrality once and for all.

Wow how did you guess???? That's exactly what we need, the goverment to get involved. Because they always make it better for us, right?

What's your solution? Do nothing? You sound like one of those right wing cranks that has been fed this meme that government = communism/bad/scary. Grow up. Yes our government does shit wrong, but at least they are accountable to us. What monopoly corporation can you vote out the CEO of?

Are you even old enough to vote? You sure don't sound like it. If the government was accountable to us,then when we don't like something they woulnt pass the laws. Which they continue to do. So yes we can vote them out, but only after they fuck shit up. Just like a CEO of a company...so explain the difference to me again between the two?

Again, what's your solution? And tell me how it's the same, if Google and Verizon push this fake net neutrality through. Can you vote out the executives at those companies when their elections come up? You can't because it's not up to you. And if you're going to tell me the old "vote with your dollars" argument then you obviously are living in a fantasy land.

I don't need a solution. Verizon and google can do whatever they want since its there company. Its not different than anything else, you can't cry about something bc u will be the one left out in the cold....you don't want this to effect you? Bump up your plan. If not, than stop crying bc u want the same things as someone paying more than you....you're the one living in fantasy land if you think that's a reality...let me just go get you a mercedes while were at it for half price.

This isn't about bumping up your plan! You're not understanding the implications of this. This is not about something petty as me not wanting to be charged more or something. If telecom companies can decide what you can or can't access, and as more people are accessing the net wirelessly, that has serious implications for freedom of access. If people are bogging down the net so bad that they need to create tiered data packages based on the *amount* of data you download....I'm not against that (unless they're just using that as an excuse to price gouge). But they should not be able to have choice over what can or cannot be accessed, or give preference to content creators with more cash.

The real reason is because what's to stop these corporations from blocking websites, ideas, blogs, that are hostile to them in any way? That's like the government owned/controlled media in some countries filtering out anything that's negative about them. It's not democratic, it's not healthy for average citizens.

Some will respond to that, "well just move to another company if you don't like it!". Let's not fool ourselves into thinking there's a myriad of choices out there. This isn't the 1960s when there were thousands of locally owned tv stations, newspapers... thanks to Reagan and Clinton, there are about 6 major corporations that own 90% of the media (TV, radio, magazines, newspapers) we consume. That isn't the free market. I'm an ADVOCATE of competition and markets. What we have in place is an oligarchy.

What I simply want is the FCC to say to these telecoms "hey, leave the net alone, leave it the way it is, it's fine."

If they wanna charge more for people who use more bandwidth, fine, but I'm absolutely against preference towards content creators with more money, and blocking access to what the ISPs think should be blocked.

I'm not sure which UofM you think rules, but they sure did a lousy job of teaching analytical skills. Allowing the market to make decisions is great, if there's a free market. But there isn't a free market for internet service. In most areas, you have a choice of, umm, 1 broadband provider. In the wireless space, you have a choice of 4, which is likely to decrease to 3 in the not too distant future. The cost of entry into these markets is just too great to ever expect new competition.

Let the existing big providers set the rules, which is what you seem to be suggesting is the best approach, only guarantees that the big boys win, you and I lose.

But I suppose you're one of those who's swallowed the Republican part line that business is always better / smarter / more efficient / more honest than government. Been to the gulf coast lately? That's what unregulated business looks like.

And corporate America always has our best interest in mind, don't they? There is nothing wrong with a certain amount of government oversight, Mr. Limbaugh. We need to keep the playing field level and for the consumer's interests to be considered at all times - not Verizon's and Google's.

I am not going to pretend that I totally understand this but somehow I don't believe that Verizon and Google have my best interest in mind.

Money rules everything. if you're only paying $40 a month and someone else is paying $200 a month, what makes you think you deserve to be equal? I hate how everyone wants to be equal but yet not pay to be equal.

OK, let me start this out with a great quote from Thomas Paine

"Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one."

So here is the deal, yes we need government to make laws and protect us from murderers and what not. I 100% promise though that we do not need government to get involved with taking more control of more things such as the internet.

Yes I understand that right now the Cable companies supposedly have very little to no competition in their respective areas of service. With that being the case they do in fact still have to compete. Right now for instance I could get my internet from either satellite, DSL, or cable. If none of those options pleased me I could get a 3g hotspot for my house from T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint. Additionally there are a multitude of Dial up providers that I could get my internet from if I didn't like any of the alternatives. So there are a great great deal of options on the market and the fact is that the cable companies do in fact have to compete for your business.

I know I know, 3g is no where near as fast as cable, and dial up is way slower still. To this I say so what, A Ford Taurus is no where near as fast as a Porsche. Any part of the market that you look at you will find that the different competitors have pros and cons over their other competitors. Some internet is really fast, some internet is really slow, some internet is really cheap, some internet is really expensive.

The whole freaking point of America is to let people make their own life decisions. If the internet companies become too big of a rip off then people will just start not having internet and going to the local coffee shop when they really need it. If and once this happens the internet companies will suffer and start taking measures to make home internet more appealing to consumers. This is how the free market works. Some times things do get out of line but then the free market will self correct.

I am just sick to death of people thinking that Business is out to get them and their money but the government is not.

I will say that it is good to see a good deal of people speaking conservatively on this website. I bet if we were on the Iphone blog 100% of them would be bowing down to Steve Jobs and the OBama Administration and begging for more regulation over their lives and beging to be told what and what not to do more.

I am sorry so you think Thomas Paine would be OPPOSED to landlords setting terms for lease on their property?

this is all about the spectrum -- a public property -- and whether lobbyists for the telecoms will be allowed to change the game on use in such a way as to have the govenrment support monopoly against the interests of the owners (the public).

You are quoting Thomas Paine but arguing against what he believed in.

That is why libertarians such as Jarvis are opposed to Verizon and Google's attempt to get corproarte welfare and their attack on Net Neutrality (free market).

You are correct to be skeptical about Washington and the government, but essentially you are quoting Thomas Paine, while arguing for a giant socialist corporate welfare for Verizon and the existing telcoms and agaisnt the property rights of the owners of the Spectrum (you and I).

This is an Android forum! Android would never have come into being if the changes to Net Neutrality Verizon is advocating were in place three years age. Google is now supporting because they are established, it to keep away innovations competition and challenges to Android.

You are misunderstanding me completely. What I am saying is that the Government needs to be kept out. That is not what google and verizon are trying to do rather quite the opposite. Verizon and google are trying to bring the government in. I am against government control as well as verizon control or google control.

I am in favor of google controlling what is owned by google and verizon controlling what is owned by verizon. I am not in favor of the government, google, or verizon trying to control what is owned by Comcast or Qwest or whomever else.

What we need is free market freedom no subsidies for anyone no favors for anyone just plain and simple freedom.

Nobody has my best interests in mind except for me - and no one has yours except for you. Period. Not any big company or (trying not to upchuck) the federal government. Everyone has an agenda. That's why we have this thing called "the free market" and competition. It's not perfect. Far from it. But it's the best we've got and the best that we'll do.

If there's not enough competition in the marketplace then give it a chance - someone with the smarts and desire to make some money by meeting a niche and filling a void will do so and you'll have your choice.

If Verizon wants to charge people for more/faster access, then so be it. If we don't like it then we'll eventually, if not immediately, go elsewhere.

Android is the perfect example. It took a while for something to rival the iPhone, but Android definitely is. While many were (and still are) looking for a single phone to be the "iPhone killer" - Android is. A strong competitor, anyway. And it was the market that did it.

Leave it alone, let me choose, and don't pretend you know what I want.

Thank you and have a nice day :)

The problem with letting you choose, or letting the free market choose, is that is no free market in this arena, and the costs of entry are way too high to expect one to materialize. You can no longer build a new ISP in your garage. If you let companies like google and Verizon make the rules, the one thing you can count on those rules doing is making it difficult for the next google, or verizon, to get a foothold.

Letting you choose only works if you have choices. Industry is doing everything to make sure you don't have real choices.

All you government loving loonies need to wake up! You think obama is going to watch out for you? Who the hell do you think that google, verizon, et al are PAYING OFF to gain control? The same government you think is going to look out for you. Get your head out of your asses!

@Nextelian

All you government loving loonies need to wake up!

Ok, you win.

Lets do it your way. You call the shots. Government regulation is out.

Now, who stands up for you? Go ahead, explain that to us. We'll wait. (taps foot).

Arguments you can't use and are forbidden to mention:

Voting with your pocketbook.
95% of north america has exactly one provider in any given area. Comcast plumbed your neighborhood when it was built? Then they own it.
Best case you have exactly TWO providers, a cable company and a DSL, probably one and the same, but in any event they don't compete on price. Don't even go there. They own the wires. Game over.

Common access of last mile infrastructure
Sorry. You said no government. Can't make em play nice.

Multiple carriers cabling every neighborhood
Sorry, not going to happen. Too expensive. No government to force cities and subdivisions to install that.

So, ball's in your court Nextelian. What is your master plan?
Speak up. We can't hear you.

OK, let me start this out with a great quote from Thomas Paine

"Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one."

So here is the deal, yes we need government to make laws and protect us from murderers and what not. I 100% promise though that we do not need government to get involved with taking more control of more things such as the internet.

Yes I understand that right now the Cable companies supposedly have very little to no competition in their respective areas of service. With that being the case they do in fact still have to compete. Right now for instance I could get my internet from either satellite, DSL, or cable. If none of those options pleased me I could get a 3g hotspot for my house from T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint. Additionally there are a multitude of Dial up providers that I could get my internet from if I didn't like any of the alternatives. So there are a great great deal of options on the market and the fact is that the cable companies do in fact have to compete for your business.

I know I know, 3g is no where near as fast as cable, and dial up is way slower still. To this I say so what, A Ford Taurus is no where near as fast as a Porsche. Any part of the market that you look at you will find that the different competitors have pros and cons over their other competitors. Some internet is really fast, some internet is really slow, some internet is really cheap, some internet is really expensive.

The whole freaking point of America is to let people make their own life decisions. If the internet companies become too big of a rip off then people will just start not having internet and going to the local coffee shop when they really need it. If and once this happens the internet companies will suffer and start taking measures to make home internet more appealing to consumers. This is how the free market works. Some times things do get out of line but then the free market will self correct.

I am just sick to death of people thinking that Business is out to get them and their money but the government is not.

I will say that it is good to see a good deal of people speaking conservatively on this website. I bet if we were on the Iphone blog 100% of them would be bowing down to Steve Jobs and the OBama Administration and begging for more regulation over their lives and beging to be told what and what not to do more.

The carefully nuanced language of the Google/Verizon pact conceals a truly insidious concept -- the idea that there should be a difference in openness and accessibility based on how one reaches the internet (wired vs. wireless). So, in the area of greatest growth and potential for improved internet access (wireless) control is ceded to providers that are essentially non-competitive with the full support of Google. If wireless were a truly competitive industry where I could move easily from carrier to carrier depending upon service quality, features and price, I would have no problem. But that is not the case and Google's complicity in this is baffling and frankly, disappointing. I fully understand why Verizon (or ATT, Sprint, T-Mobile for that matter) would support this idea -- it is clearly in their best interest. Google's interest and involvement in this scheme is more difficult to fathom and therefore far more disturbing. We won't need ten years of GAO reports on the wireless industry to know this will end badly. And as much as it pains me to say so, I'm afraid that finally FCC regulation will be the only available, albeit least desirable, remedy.

Who determines this "net neutrality"? The government? Sure, it sounds good, but wait until the bureaucrats get involved and you know controls them. Congress, aka, lobbyists. Anytime anything has a name like this you know you are screwed. Ever heard of the "Committee for Public Safety"? Sounds good, right? Look it up.

Check this out from Credo:

Tell the FCC: It's up to you, not Google and Verizon, to regulate the Internet
act.credoaction.com
Google and Verizon just jointly announced a proposed policy framework for net neutrality, and it's worse than we expected.

The Google-Verizon plan would end the Internet as we know it. Right now there is only one Internet that treats everybody and all content equally. But the proposal would change all of that. And insidiously, it would effectively dismantle net neutrality while claiming to protect it.

Still, the fact of the matter is that it's not Google's place to write regulations---that's the job of the FCC, which has failed to act quickly to protect American consumers.

Tell the FCC to stop delaying and enact strong net neutrality provisions ASAP.

Our friends at MoveOn described the Google-Verizon proposal well when they said it would "create two separate, unequal sections of the Internet--one for big business that would be high-speed and exclusive, and then the inferior, slow 'public Internet' that would be available to you and me."

While it was unexpected that Google, formerly an advocate of net neutrality, would associate itself with such a bad policy, it's not surprising that the proposal shortchanges the interests of consumers and the public at large.

This proposal is just the latest example of giant corporations trying to write the very regulations that govern their behavior.

Google wants more people on android and Verizon wants people to pay more for faster internet access.... in other words their proposal is not good for the consumer although they claim to be for a more open internet

and for all you dingbats arguing about the government you can stop because the only mention of it in this article is the FCC and it is a necessary commission unlike some others.. this is about net neutrality and corporate governance not politics

"i would like to point out anyone with the evo pays more for there net"

this isn't about paying more for higher speed. this is about whether, say if you are using a wireless hotspot on your evo, wethher Sprint can block netflix but allow blockbuster, or block youtube themselves and allow some other service; even if you are using the same amount of data.

Or as, was few years ago, when google was OPPOSED to the same changes it now supports, whether new systems like Android, can be throttled in the cradle. Google now has Android established and so their change is nonadjustable, they want other competitors throttled in the cradle. But no owner of the spectrum used (the public) should support it.

I'm not going to pretend I understand what's all entailed in Net Neutrality, but I do know a little bit about Telecom, and I'd like to point out at least one example of how this could benefit you and me as "normal" citizens...

In a nutshell, the Telecom infra-structure is complex (to say the least). Within the past couple of years the routing & termination of calls between wireless providers (Verizon & Sprint for example) has become somewhat easier due to direct termination between carriers at an IP level, but there still are issues to contend with and it is a complex solution. Unfortunately, these IP terminations practically mirror the equipment that is required to provide the Internet backbone which means two "Network Elements" are being maintained.

So by carving out a section of the public internet for cellular telephone traffic and giving it a higher priority, the carriers can eliminate much of the duplicity in their Networks, still provide the same quality of service to the end user, and the capital that is saved can be re-invested into 4G and other services. Remember, the Big 3, AT&T, Verizon & Sprint basically built the Internet infrastructure, so I think they have a right in determining some of these standards...

So that's just one scenario which doesn't have men in trench-coats lurking in the shadows, and I'm sure there's more.

Something else to think about.... How far along do you think we'd be if Judge Green didn't bust up AT&T? Even though change can be sometimes be difficult to accept, innovation and change is a good thing.

And since we probably aren't able to see the bigger picture, I'm willing to let the Telecom giants figure it out, and if we can manage to keep the Government out of it, we just might come out this ok...

David...

This IS a tough one! Both sides have valid points. Some one HAS to direct the big dogs some. THE FCC is the obvious choice. FCC once it starts WILL get more intrusive and drive up costs and use MORE TAX $.

And out of pure fairness: IF YOU PAY MORE FOR ANYTHING, YOU SHOULD GET MORE THAN THOSE WHO PAY LESS OR NOTHING. Same with health care. Sorry, rough but true.

I think people are taking their exisitng political beliefs and trying to apply it here an not actually reading the various articles.

"Rizzle" quoting Thomas Paine and "uofmrules" actually kind of have it backwards. they are are arguing in support of having the govenrment support changes one group wants in order to exploit public resources while wearing a very poorly fitting libertarian mantle (in fact anti libertarian mantle).

The reference to Paine and the founding fathers is strange, given that if one was living in a rural areas as a yeoman farmer, from when those ideas arose, you would have gone without telephone or wired internet service for the past 50 years -- because it is the govenrment that has mandated rural coverage -- not the market.

the fact is Google and Verizon are arguing against market forces.

Do the libertarians here think there would be an Android if it were not for GOVERNMENT Mandated net Neutrality? there would not be. Essentially now that Google has its dominance in this it wants use the government to cement it position and keep competition and innovation out. For a clear assessment of this, read the piece in Wired by Ryan Singal
http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/08/why-google-became-a-carrier-humpi...

This is Google position in 2007 the last time Verison and others tried this: “The nation’s spectrum airwaves are not the birthright of any one company. They are a unique and valuable public resource that belong to all Americans. The FCC’s auction rules are designed to allow U.S. consumers — for the first time — to use their handsets with any network they desire, and and use the lawful software applications of their choice.”

Now google is reversing itself and asking that somehow the wireless internet, which is the internet (read Jarvis' piece) and which is even more public owned resource than the wired portions, be made permanent fiefdoms of companies and cultures that will inherently use their government awarded monopolies to keep OUT innovation and competition.

The people own the Spectrum. It is leased. This is not about what companies do with the own property. This is about the property rights of the people. Rights of landlords are libertarian property rights! Like any landlord the people have the right to craft the spectrum LEASES in their own interests. That IS the free market.

Wow, I had no idea that Android Central was so full of idiots who just can't wait to lube themselves up to be reamed by the telcom industry! Wouldn't it be great to see the "you pay more, you deserve to get more" attitude applied toward something like water sanitation? Who wouldn't love to have tiered plans for water filtration? If you can afford to pay more you get nice, clean, pristine tap water, but if not it's okay, you can choose one of our less costly plans! Now shut up and enjoy your (literally) crappy water! If you don't like it, tough... bump up your plan. Why do you hate the free market, commie?

You people have Stockholm Syndrome, you've fallen in love with your captors.

Actually your water example isn't too far off. A number of members of the United Nations attempted to pass a resolution making water a human right so that it could not be privatized. Guess who voted against that. You guessed it, good old USA. We aren't talking water services here we are talking the water itself. It's already happening in New Zealand and don't be surprised if it happens here soon.

I'm still alittle confused on this issue but what it seems to me is being proposed would be Verizon being able to control what content i can see on the internet?? If thats whats actually going on wouldn't that be just like apple controling what apps you can have on your phone?? I don't really see how anyone on this site would be for this....considering how much complaining people do about Apples control of content....please let me know if I'm making any sense or if I'm way off on my understanding of the subject.

Folks, it's like any game played: Baseball, football, soccer...they all have rules and a governing body. What is essentially happening here is the New York Yankees are trying to create their own rules when you play in their stadium. They're making the case that they own the stadium, therefore, you must play by their rules or play somewhere else. Sure, someone could just play the Mets, but how long before they attempt to do the same thing?

The FCC sets the rules to the game. They (actually us) own the league (bandwidth). If Verizon and Google wants to play in the league, they must play by the rules. Period.

"There are two solutions to this problem:

Allow competition to force the private companies to change
Let the FCC regulate the industry"

This is correct. And in my mind, given those two choices, there is only one solution.
If private companies do the regulating through competition, then we still have a choice to boycott or otherwise not use a service (say Verizon) if we don't agree with how they operate. In this case, given the sheer number of companies to choose from, we have the freedom to change providers to let (say Verizon) know that we don't approve of what they are doing.
If the FCC regulates the industry, the choice to switch who does the regulating does not exist. Not only that, but if you come across questionable content on the internet, you could be fined, jailed, or have your internet access taken away completely. Also, the FCC will have 100% unfettered access to every single thing you do every minute you're online. And if the FCC operates with say, the competence of the FDA, Homeland Security, or the DMV (and there's no reason to think the FCC will be THE ONE GOVERNMENT ENTITY THAT DOES THINGS RIGHT), we are all in for an intrusive web experience.

Get some facts before you bost a compleley backwards set of analogies.

This is not on abut FCC regulating "industry", it is about the challenge to the idea that the owner of the property (the pulic Spectrum) can negotiate leases on the basis of interests of the owners (the puvblic) or not.

Google has argued voraciously in 2007 that the plan they now supprot woudl stifle cometetion and stifle the FREE MARKET. Teh were successful. hence ANRIOD and other innovations,

Do you believe the industry should now manipulate the LEASES for this public property to change it so that they can allow traffic from say blockbuster but forbid same amount of traffic to you from Neflix on your handheld or wireless laptop if they have some deal with Blockbuster?? Do y really beleive that providers shoudl be able to say what OS you use on your laptop, and limit you if you use say Mac or Linux?

If don't get your statement "if the government regulates the industry" This is about LEASES of PUBLIC PROPERTY leased to a handful of companies.

Again: If this same effort had been successful three years ago there would be no Android, every -- including the corporate lobbyist proponents of this changes agree -- this would have killed Android. Are you really arguing agaisnt efforts like Android on Adriod central?

You're implying that stifling the free market is the reason Android exists? Correct me if I have that wrong.
What analogies do I have wrong? The only analogy I made is that the FCC is as incompetent as other government agencies, which is correct.
I own an Android device, and love it.
And what exactly do you consider public property to be? Relative to private property.
In reality, both "solutions" are awful.

Chefkeyser, I think what he's referring to is the electromagnetic spectrum that these companies transmit data on. I do think he's correct in saying that is publicly owned and leased to private companies like Verizon and others.

I must also disagree with you that ALL government agencies are incompetent.

But what I disagree with most is your comment about "the sheer number of companies." That is simply not true unfortunately due to the declawing of the FCC during Reagan and the Telecom Act of 1996 under Clinton. 6 major corporations own 90% of the media we consume (tv, newspapers, magazines, radio). That's not like it used to be in America in the 60s and before, when thousands of little media companies, independent of major corporations were in every little town and city. That was real competition. It existed because the government enforced proper rules of business, not allowing incredible, large buyouts and mergers which lead to monopolies and oligarchies (which is what we have now).

And to quote icebike's comment: 95% of north america has exactly one provider in any given area. Comcast plumbed your neighborhood when it was built? Then they own it.Best case you have exactly TWO providers, a cable company and a DSL, probably one and the same, but in any event they don't compete on price. Don't even go there. They own the wires. Game over.

I don't want the government telling me what websites I can see, what content I can view. In the same vein I don't want a corporation like google and verizon determining what I can view, which is very possible and almost inevitable with their proposal. Imagine if this goes through and Verizon buys BP (which is sadly not too crazy of an idea due to the Reagan admin setting the precedent of stopping enforcement of the anti-trust laws), who causes another oil spill....what's to stop Verizon from blocking any website that portrays BP negatively from showing up on their wireless data and even their wired connections? This is what China does.

The solution that proponents of Net Neutrality and the FCC aren't proposing a system where the FCC monitors anything you do online, the type that you are describing.

It's simply this to ISPs and carriers: Leave the internet alone, you can't filter, block, give bandwidth preference to anything on the net. Charge for data use all you want, but do NOT change anything about how people access the internet and what they can or cannot see, or what loads faster and what loads painfully slow. Leave it alone.