Report: Verizon, Google in Net Neutrality Pact

According to the Washington Post, citing two unnamed sources, Google and Verizon are in a "net neutrality pact" to manage network traffic. Set for an announcement "within days," follows the FCC’s push in meetings with network service providers to strike some kind of deal on net neutrality rules. It’s unclear how this deal will affect the direction of those discussions, which are apparently ongoing.

The agreement, expected to be announced within days, comes as the Federal Communications Commission tries to get major Internet content firms and network service providers to strike a deal on disputed points of so-called net neutrality rules. It’s unclear how the deal will affect the direction of those discussions. The FCC has told the Washington Post that Verizon and Google are still a part of meetings between senior staff and officials of such firms as AT&T, Skype, a cable trade association and the Open Internet Coalition.

Public interest groups has been critical of the closed door meetings with ISPs and the rumored agreement between Verizon and Google, which they see as the government giving Internet firms too much of a voice in the process.

Verizon wouldn’t confirm that a deal was struck with Google, but said in an e-mail statement that it has "been working with Google for 10 months to reach an agreement on broadband policy" and that it is "currently engaged in and committed to the negotiation process led by the FCC."

Google and Verizon’s agreement could stop Verizon from offering some "prioritization" to partners who want better delivery of content on its DSL and fiber networks, according to the sources. The deal would not be applied to mobile phones, the sources said.

“The fate of the Internet is too large a matter to be decided by negotiations involving two companies, even companies as big as Verizon and Google, or even the six companies and groups engaged in other discussions at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on similar topics," said Gigi Sohn, president of public interest group Public Knowledge.

The six officials at the FCC meetings, which will resume today, are arguing about whether wireless phones should be included in legislation and if carriers can charge for "better quality of service."

Source: Washington Post

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