In the light of the ongoing debate about web neutrality, Google and Verizon have put together seven points in a proposal to legislators. They have shared the proposal in a blog post.
Paid Search Limitations?
Aside from the full access and transparency issues that require be addressed to the effect that users have full information on their service providers as well as the choice of the devices they use to access the Internet, the point that looks the trickiest is the second one in the proposal. The Google-Verizon duet calls it a "new, enforceable prohibition against discriminatory practices." Under such a provision, "wireline broadband providers would not be able to discriminate against or prioritize lawful Internet content, applications or services in a way that causes harm to users or competition." In short, "this new nondiscrimination principle includes a presumption against prioritization of Internet traffic - including paid prioritization." The question is how would that help Google, whose current revenues stem mostly from paid search?
A $2 million Penalty For "Bad Actors"
What would clearly be in the two companies' interest is their proposal for new FCC policies. Reminding the FCC's lost case against Comcast on web neutrality, the proposal also calls for new open policies to be enforced on a "case-by-case basis, using a complaint-driven process. " The fine for what Google and Verizon call "bad actors" would amount to "up to $2 million."
Another element that would be beneficial to the Google-Verizon duet is their call for innovation and the legal capacity for broadband providers to offer additional services to users - "examples might include health care monitoring, the smart grid, advanced educational services, or new entertainment and gaming options," they suggested.
They also called on a closer federal look on the broadband market place, pleading that "the Government Accountability Office would be required to report to Congress annually on developments in the wireless broadband marketplace, and whether or not current policies are working to protect consumers."
Federal Universal Service
Finally, the two companies tout their support to the reform of the Federal Universal Service Fund, "so that it is focused on deploying broadband in areas where it is not now available."
The post was co-signed by Google director of public policy, Alan Davidson, and Verizon executive vice president of public affairs, policy, and communications, Tom Tauke.
As a user, marketer, brand, etc., how do you think such a proposal will impact your use of the Internet?