Google, others answer critics of net neutrality 'proposal'

Not everyone sees cooperation with Verizon as Google selling out

It's not possible to look at a news site without finding fulmination after diatribe directed at Google for having brokered a preliminary peace treaty with Verizon on the subject of network neutrality. You don't need me to help you find them.

But there are other voices being heard on the Google/Verizon business, and since they may be harder to pinpoint amid the pile of bile, I thought I'd identify a few.

The first is a blog post by Google - "Facts about our network neutrality proposal" -- that attempts to yank a few arrows out of its corporate backside:

Over the past few days there's been a lot of discussion surrounding our announcement of a policy proposal on network neutrality we put together with Verizon. On balance, we believe this proposal represents real progress on what has become a very contentious issue, and we think it could help move the network neutrality debate forward constructively.

We don't expect everyone to agree with every aspect of our proposal, but there has been a number of inaccuracies about it, and we do want to separate fact from fiction.

Whether the company does so or not is a judgment call, but it's worth a read.

Another minority voice is this pox on both your houses piece by the Washington Post's Steven Pearstein:

As a general rule, whenever you hear special-interest groups using near-hysterical language to warn that some proposal will destroy jobs, snuff out innovation and end free-market capitalism as we know it, you can generally assume that progress is being made.

So it is with the controversies swirling around Internet regulation.

Then we have Dana Blankenhorn of ZDNet employing an historical analogy fraught with danger but managing the pull it off with the help of cat.

There is an assumption among Internet advocates that Google has just pulled a Neville Chamberlain, a peace in our time deal with Verizon that sells out the free Internet for a metered one.

That's not the case. In fact it's more likely that, in this scenario, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg was taking the Chamberlain role.This does not put Google in the part of Germany, but if you insist we'll make it a cat that looks like Hitler.

The cat picture made me laugh.

And, finally, there is my favorite comment from the anti-Google brigade, culled from the bottom of that Google blog post. While not as apocalyptic as this one, it also struck me as amusing:

Google sold out, plain and simple. So (much) for "Don't be evil." Time to switch my default search provider in my browser to Bing.

Bing? You mean Microsoft's Bing. That's rich.

(Update: Some of the headlines generated by this matter have been truly inspired, such as: Google and Verizon Proclaim They Are 'Just Friends')

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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