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Google, Verizon issue joint statement on network neutrality

Unlikely bedfellows spell out similarities, differences regarding FCC network neutrality plan

By Network World Staff, Network World
October 22, 2009 11:16 AM ET

Network World - The following is a joint statement from Lowell McAdam, CEO Verizon Wireless and Eric Schmidt, CEO Google, regarding network neutrality.
(Cross-posted on the Verizon Policy Blog and Google Public Policy blog.)

Verizon and Google might seem unlikely bedfellows in the current debate around network neutrality, or an open Internet. And while it's true we do disagree quite strongly about certain aspects of government policy in this area--such as whether mobile networks should even be part of the discussion--there are many issues on which we agree. For starters we both think it's essential that the Internet remains an unrestricted and open platform--where people can access any content (so long as it's legal), as well as the services and applications of their choice.

There are two key factors driving innovation on the web today. First is the programming language of the Internet, which was designed over forty years ago by engineers who wanted the freedom to communicate from any computer, anywhere in the world. It enables Macs to talk to PCs, Blackberry Storms to iPhones, the newest computers to the oldest hardware on the planet across any kind of network--cable, DSL, fiber, mobile, WiFi or even dial up.

Second, private investment is dramatically increasing broadband capacity and the intelligence of networks, creating the infrastructure to support ever more sophisticated applications.

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As a result, however or wherever you access the Internet the people you want to connect with can receive your message. There is no central authority that can step in and prevent you from talking to someone else, or that imposes rules prescribing what services should be available.

Transformative is an over-used word, especially in the tech sector. But the Internet has genuinely changed the world. Consumers of all stripes can decide which services they want to use and the companies they trust to provide them. In addition, if you're an entrepreneur with a big idea, you can launch your service online and instantly connect to an audience of billions. You don't need advance permission to use the network. At the same time, network providers are free to develop new applications, either on their own or in collaboration with others.

This kind of "innovation without permission" has changed the way we do business forever, fueling unprecedented collaboration, creativity and opportunity. And because America has been at the forefront of most of these changes, we have disproportionately benefited in terms of economic growth and job creation.

So, in conjunction with the Federal Communications Commission's national plan to bring broadband to all Americans, we understand its decision to start a debate about how best to protect and promote the openness of the Internet. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has promised a thoughtful, transparent decision-making process, and we look forward to taking part in the analysis and discussion that is to follow. We believe this kind of process can work, because as the two of us have debated these issues we have found a number of basic concepts to agree on.

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