Out of Control Policy Blog

The Backflips Begin

Timothy Wu, the Columbia University law professor who is one of the leading voices for network neutrality, has crafted an interesting piece in Slate on what he sees as a coming competitive clash between Google on one side and AT&T and Verizon on the other.

Wu's article is a sound analysis of the two business models each group seeks to employ. Google is pursuing a network neutral approach of which its Android operating system for mobile devices is the cornerstone. Among its many allies, Google has attracted incumbents T-Mobile and Sprint to the Android concept, showing that the current wireless industry is not as monolithic as Wu's editors' use of the inclusive "Ma Bell" in the subhead suggests.

But Wu has a problem. As speculation intensifies as to whether Google will bid several billion dollars for a chunk of the 700 MHz spectrum the FCC plans to auction in January, he must answer the question that network neutrality proponents are finding more difficult to dodge each day – will network neutrality do little more than just give Google, which is, despite its perception as an underdog among some lawmakers, a huge, deep-pocketed company, a government-provided advantage in the market for Internet access and applications.


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