Commentary

Some Early Takeways from the Verizon-Google Net Neutrality Proposal

Scott Cleland at Precursor.org has weighed in with his first impressions of the joint policy proposal on network neutrality from Verizon and Google yesterday, He cites two important takeaways, condensed here. See his blog entry for more insights.

First, it is even more clear that the FCC should give the legislative process time to play out on net neutrality.

While this is a legislative proposal of only two of the many major stakeholders in the net neutrality debate, it still sends a strong signal to Congress and the FCC that the stakeholder negotiating process — that has been occurring over the last several weeks — holds real potential for substantive progress and resolution, if the FCC is patient and gives the process the appropriate time and breathing room to play out….

Second, Google’s many major concessions are an important reality check for the FCC and net neutrality absolutists. While FreePress and the net neutrality fringe demand the pure absolute net neutrality of a monopoly regulated utility under Title II, Google now apparently believes that extreme position is no longer credible….

In short, Verizon and Google appear to have changed the overall dynamic with their announcement, showing that stakeholder negotiations and the legislative option may be viable and should be given time and support to further develop.

Those who don’t want a negotiated compromise, but seek a heavy-handed edict from the FCC, like FreePress, will surely push the FCC to go it alone, ignore Congress, and abandon the potential for a much more broadly negotiated settlement of this mess — that will only get messier ‘if the FCC rushes to usurp both Congress’ and the Court’s authority.

With the FCC’s broadband regulatory authority up in the air after Comcast v. FCC, Verizon and Google are looking to demonstrate that the market can deliver a solution without a strignant regulatory regime. The ball is in FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s court now.


Steven Titch served as a policy analyst at Reason Foundation from 2004 to 2013.

Titch's work primarily focused on telecommunications, the Internet and new media. He is a former managing editor of InfoTech & Telecom News (IT&T News) published by the Heartland Institute. His columns have appeared in Investor's Business Daily, Total Telecom, and America's Network, among others.

Prior to joining Reason in 2004, Titch covered the telecommunications industry as a journalist for more than two decades. Titch was director of editorial projects for Data Communications magazine where he directed content development for supplemental publications and special projects. He has also held the positions of editorial director of Telephony, editor of Global Telephony magazine, Midwest bureau chief of CommunicationsWeek, and associate editor-communications at Electronic News.

Outside of the telecom industry, Titch conducted rich media and content development for publishers and corporate marketing groups. He has also developed and launched his own web-based media, including SecuritySquared.com, an on-line resource for the security industry.

Titch graduated cum laude from Syracuse University with a dual degree in journalism and English.