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Google Fires Off Warning to US Telcos 283

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-wouldn't-like-google-when-it's-angry dept.
mytrip writes "The US Senate Commerce Committee last week approved reforms in communications legislation that will make it easier for Internet providers to offer IP-based television. The resultant perceived threat of telecommunications companies muscling in on the Web has stirred search giant Google into firing off warnings. A spokesman said it would not hesitate to file anti-trust complaints if Internet-providing telcos abuse powers that could come from U.S. legislators in further reforms - some of which, Google argues, could threaten 'Net Neutrality'.
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Google Fires Off Warning to US Telcos

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  • by SlappyBastard (961143) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @10:39AM (#15659954) Homepage
    Pretty badass. Can we get the EFF to go public, too?
  • More Here (Score:5, Informative)

    by neonprimetime (528653) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @10:40AM (#15659963) Homepage
    From Reuters (linked in Article), More Info Here [reuters.com] in yesterday's article
    • Re:More Here (Score:2, Informative)

      by mrxak (727974)
      The important thing about all this is the changes in cable franchising law. If other companies can get a single franchise from a state, rather than each and every municipality, it becomes far easier to start providing alternative television services. This is what we call competition. Competition breeds lower prices, better service, and technological innovation in order to differentiate competing services and win more customers.

      Right now Adelphia is going bankrupt [orlandosentinel.com] and being gobbled up by Comcast and Time W
      • Re:More Here (Score:3, Informative)

        by Wah (30840)
        Bah, competition should be from stations and channels, not providers.

        There's less competition than before, and the sooner and easier it is for additional companies like AT&T and Verizon to roll out competing services, the better.

        You do understand that in order to do so they have to hijack the internet, right? That's the whole point on network neutrality. It no longer becomes a neutral internet that anyone can use the same, it becomes a dedicated pipe for AT&T/Verizon services.
      • Re:More Here (Score:4, Interesting)

        by WhiteWolf666 (145211) <sherwin&amiran,us> on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @11:36AM (#15660354) Homepage Journal
        Ah, yes.

        And now that localities will loose control over the cable providers, the TV companies (teleco&cable) will no longer be forced to do stupid things like carry community (city) TV, meet local council requirements, or have regulated low-income pricing.

        An important part to capitalism is that barriers to entry be fair. If Comcast has to overcome a certain set of legislation to enter a community, so should AT&T. And personally, I'm all for localization of law, not federalization. The more of our legislation that occurs in smaller and smaller governments, the better.

        A federalist system is always better at serving constituents than a centralized system. The telecos are huge companies with significant presences (including personnel and offices) in each of these communities. There's nothing wrong with forcing them to go community by community in order to get their licensing.
      • If other companies can get a single franchise from a state, rather than each and every municipality, it becomes far easier to start providing alternative television services. This is what we call competition.

        I do not understand how your arrived at that assumption. How is state level franchising going to increase competition?
        I would say one company having a franchise deal over an entire state is NOT competition. Of course one company having a franchise over individual single counties/municipalities is not
  • by martinultima (832468) <martinultima@gmail.com> on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @10:40AM (#15659964) Homepage Journal
    BALLMER: We're going to fucking kill Google!!
    GOOGLE: We're going to fucking kill giant telcos!!
    (both start throwing chairs; chaos ensues)
    • TELCOS: We're going to fucking kill everything the Internet stands for!
  • by Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @10:42AM (#15659973)
    I thought they were going to carpet bomb the telcos from the Google plane
  • Not Surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by epp_b (944299) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @10:43AM (#15659981)
    Google is a big, juicy target for greedy ISPs wanting to cash in by dipping into other ISPs' customers' pockets. It's genuinely beneficial to Google and their users that Net Neutrality is implemented and protected. I hope Google does everything they can to protect it, too.
  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @10:43AM (#15659982) Homepage Journal
    Google's partially right to make these threats -- they're mad because companies that continue to receive monopoly powers, preferential treatment, restrictive licensing rules and even public subsidies should not be given even more power over the media distribution system. Yet the end result of Google's threats will only be MORE government control of the media, not less.

    Net Neutrality is bunk -- it means ZERO. We don't need net neutrality, we don't want it, and we won't get it. What we need is a realistic free market playing field of open competition for anyone who wants to jump into the business. Let's stop all the regulations, taxes, tariffs, fees and restrictions on media companies and let them compete openly. IPTV is probably the future -- who cares about airwaves when everything is going digital and coming over a landline? Yet the phone companies still get preferential treatment from the national, state and local governments, and giving them both preferential treatment and the right to control their pipeline's access is tipping the system towards the cronies, not the consumers.

    The consumers want one thing -- competition. Competition happens when government stays away from the market. The more we let government "regulate" net neutrality or attempt to create a level playing field, the more we'll see our prices go up, our service levels go down, and competition get wiped out of the market.

    Google shouldn't be clamoring against the cronies, they should be threatening the government. Nothing would please me more than Google taking on a pro-independence role the day after an anniversary of the last time our citizens kicked the government in the teeth and sent them packing.
    • by VP (32928) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @10:49AM (#15660008)
      How exactly do you propose to create this "realistic free market playing field of open competition for anyone who wants to jump into the business"? The telcos own the wires - do you propose the government take the wires away and lease them to the lowest bidder?
      • by Chosen Reject (842143) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @11:05AM (#15660110)
        Wrong, the government, and by the transitive property, the people, own the wires. The telcos didn't pay for them to go up. In fact, even when they were paid, by the government, to put them up, they didn't. [techdirt.com]
        • Yes, the government paid for the wires, but let the telcos own them. So you have a natural monopoly, which has to be regulated, which is what net neutrality is about...
        • by WhiteWolf666 (145211) <sherwin&amiran,us> on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @11:47AM (#15660441) Homepage Journal
          Mod parent up.

          The telecos are an abomination of government subsidy and government sponsorship. Arguing that we should keep regulation away from them is nonsensical.

          Even in an Ayn Randian world, the Telecos are a market failure, because they were created by the government. Unleashing the unregulated telecos on the cable market would be akin to release government engineered biological disease weapons on the world ecology to allow "natural selection" to run its course.

          The telecos should be repossed by the government, stripped of their cash-assets to the states, and then "privatized" by having their physical assets sold on auction. Lines/Switching stations should become property of localities, with clauses that at minimum they must lease them to telecommunication companies, but with rights to do anything else including privization of these assets.

          The teleco market is a heavily government subsided (and government created) market that needs economic shock therapy in order for the free market to even have a chance. Otherwise, the abomination should be kept strictly under regulation.

          Let me remind you [wikipedia.org] how AT&T was built. Let me remind you [wikipedia.org] how AT&T was reassembled, much like Dr. Frankestein's Monster, for the portions of a dead monopoly.
      • by Orne (144925) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @11:13AM (#15660159) Homepage
        The telcos own the wires - do you propose the government take the wires away and lease them to the lowest bidder

        Well, you could do what they did to the electric grid, create an "Open Access Transmission Tarriff" that declares that a utility company does not have the right to prevent transactions to occur across their systems. This was basically the first step in electricity de-regulation, the next being that the same company cannot provide the generation, transmission, and load service, because having all three can lead to price fixing, market power, undercutting, and makes it much too easy to be anti-competative. In the telco world, this would be like splitting into transmission (maintain the lines), service providers (maintain the switchers), and service users (like us).

        This has the benefit that private companies retain ownership of their lines, and customers become "accounts" that exist in the financial transaction world only. You could have me, a customer, in territory X, purchasing service from Company Y. Y collects the bills, and pays X a standardized "service" fee for moving the data of my phone calls into and out of their system. The government would regulate and standardize this fee with the existing public utility construct.

        The down side to this in the electric grid is that you end up with "loop flows"; power flows according to impedance, not because someone created a contract to flow a certain way, so company A's transmission carries some flow that was intended to go across their neighbor's system B. However, there is an "inadvertant accounting" process that meters all of this unscheduled MW-Hour flows, and companies occasionally pay each other back the $ that this flow represents. Telephone calls are discrete / digital, so a company can exactly meter how much a customer is using their service, and properly bill it back to the right service company.
        • Well, you could do what they did to the electric grid, create an "Open Access Transmission Tarriff" that declares that a utility company does not have the right to prevent transactions to occur across their systems.

          Isn't that the exact equivalent of "net neutrality"? That's the whole point I was responding to - you cannot manage ustilities without some sort of regulation, and talking about the "free market" is pointless when you have a natural monopoly (one set of wires).
        • This was basically the first step in electricity de-regulation, the next being that the same company cannot provide the generation, transmission, and load service, because having all three can lead to price fixing, market power, undercutting, and makes it much too easy to be anti-competative.

          And the one after that was Enron, proving that this free market gospel is so much bunk. It has as much value in the real world as the writings of Marx. Ideals don't work in reality. Just look at the libertarian small g

      • by BrynM (217883) * on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @12:12PM (#15660604) Homepage Journal
        The telcos own the wires - do you propose the government take the wires away and lease them to the lowest bidder?
        Um... We citizens used to own those lines as a public utility. The telcos (when they were one telco) were given large subsidies to build out their networks. You should go read this [cclab.com] history and then read this [eff.org] old but prescient article. The government still forces Telcos to lease the lines for telephony use at a fixed [wikipedia.org] wholesale price, but I guess the Internet doesn't count for some reason.
    • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @10:51AM (#15660021) Homepage
      You can get all that you want the moment you can get the tax for paying for the Spanish american war off of the phone bill.

      Yes, there is a tax STILL on the phone bills and being paid that was enacted for paying for the Spanish American War.

      BTW, getting that removed is harder than building a 4 lane bridge from New York to Spain.
    • Let's stop all the regulations, taxes, tariffs, fees and restrictions on media companies and let them compete openly.

      I've got a deal for you: First we achieve *all* of those goals, then we can oppose net neutrality legislation.

      Given the current reality (a free market in low-latency broadband Internet access simply does not exist), opposing net neutrality legislation with the usual libertarian arguments is putting the cart before the horse.

    • The consumers want one thing -- competition. Competition happens when government stays away from the market. The more we let government "regulate" net neutrality or attempt to create a level playing field, the more we'll see our prices go up, our service levels go down, and competition get wiped out of the market.

      (Emphasis mine)


      Sure, government regulation of the telcos has in the past couple decades been weighted in favor of said telcos (IMO) -- but the knife cuts both ways.

    • I have no problem with Google not getting net neutrality.

      But I damn well expect if Verizon is charging the sites I go to, that they're not charging me.

      The problem is, they want to charge everyone.
      • by Wah (30840) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @11:30AM (#15660291) Homepage Journal
        But I damn well expect if Verizon is charging the sites I go to, that they're not charging me.

        Umm, an extra charge for any service you use is going to come back to you(period).
      • Theyre already getting paid! Companies that use more bandwidth have to pay more. Its already like that.

        As as the previous commenteur said, any charge from verizon comes back to you. You wouldn't seriously expect the provider to just eat it would you?
      • But I damn well expect if Verizon is charging the sites I go to, that they're not charging me.

        Oh, they probably won't list it directly in your bill. In fact, it probably won't get charged to you at all. So where will it show up?

        Well, specifically, it's obvious Google could raise their ad rates a bit to pay for it, so the cost of acquisition gets passed on to advertisers, who in turn raise their product prices a bit, so you'd likely pay more there.

        But that's not the really insidious part. The really crappy p
    • I disagree. Complete "freedom" in either the market or society is never a good thing. John D. Rockerfeller had complete "freedom" to use extortion, threats, and bribery to build an oil monopoly and squash competitors. Government intervention split the company and now using his methods is illegal. It also split the big AT&T telcom monopoly. If it weren't for government intervention, we would still be overpaying for land-line service. The EU is currently leveraging fines against Microsoft for not pr
      • by Red Flayer (890720) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @11:22AM (#15660239) Journal
        I totally agree with you -- but it's important to note that in an ideal market, this does not hold true. In an ideal market no regulation will result in the best situation. The problem is that no market is ideal -- we've got barriers to entry, non-commodity goods (these two are core issues with telco deregulation), etc.

        GP seems to think that all markets behave like ideal markets. They don't -- which is why government regulation is necessary to prevent monopolies from abusing their market status.

        But, in the end, it doesn't make much difference -- nothing is going to help him change his mind, we'll continue to posts like this one of his on Slashdot for years to come. The free-market idealists have a pretty unshakeable belief in their dogma, and we'll continue to refute their arguments til kingdom come.
        • How is the telco market NOT an ideal market? In almost every situation where we saw subsidies, we saw a market restrained from providing new and better efficiencies for consumers due to the typical side-effects of subsidization: redtape, mandates, and a bigger barrier to entry than previously existed.

          You can refute it, but your refutations don't hold water. That's why I posted "chicken and egg and chicken and egg" because the common refutation is "Well, we have to regulate it because we spent tax dollars
          • by Red Flayer (890720) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @01:23PM (#15661081) Journal
            Well, let's see:

            Barriers to entry? Check.
            Non-commodity good? Check.
            Lack of perfectly informed decisions by the purchasers? Check.

            Note that even if the federal government were to stop regulating telecom, there is still the whole issue of infrastructure for landline-based delivery, in terms of barriers to entry.

            As to higher barriers to entry under regulation -- that's acceptable, as ANY barrier to entry on the scale we're talking about will prevent competition... adding a few bucketfuls of sand to a dune won't make a difference. The point is that what we'd see WITHOUT regulation would be almost zero innovation by the sole provider in each area -- unless there was a way to make more money off it. Your idea that innovation was stifled by regulation is off the mark -- innovation was stifled by monopoly suppliers, who would have existed with or without regulation.

            You can refute it, but your refutations don't hold water. That's why I posted "chicken and egg and chicken and egg" because the common refutation is "Well, we have to regulate it because we spent tax dollars on building the infrastructure." Well, why did you do that? "Because we had to since no one would have sold land to provide the service in the first place." How do you know that? "Well, because."
            Don't ascribe others' reasons to me. We don't need to regulate because we spent money on infrastructure... we need to regulate for the same reasons we spent money on infrastructure. That is, to provide good service to as many people as possible (ideally, all of them who want it) while preventing a monopoly from gouging people. There is a natural monopoly for anything with as big of an infrastructure as the telecomm industry, and companies will take advantage of that, to the detriment of consumers, unless regulated.

            As to JJ Hill -- why do you think other business were unable to compete? Because of imperfect market conditions (as any real market has) that prevented newcomers from challenging him. Sure he could deliver cheaper goods... he had the infrastructure in hand already. But someone will equal access to the infrastructure could have easily driven prices even lower, and provided more services.

            Also, -5 for credibility there. Your little opinion piece about JJ Hill (a self-authored citation? blech.) doesn't refute the fact that he was in fact a monopolist. Sure,some of the things he did help ameliorate the harm his monopolies caused, but it is disingenuous to say that his monopolies caused no harm. A lot of those things could have been done just as easily under a non-monopolist industry. Finally, note that a lot of his innovation was not due to competition from other firms -- it was to react to worldwide financial crisis.
      • Rockefeller's oil "monopoly" was good for the consumers. Read DiLorenzo's How Capitalism Saved America [amazon.com] for amazing insight in what Rockefeller did to create the most amazing market in existence. He lowered the price of oil dozens of times over what competitors were charging, and created new industries out of his vertical marketing of previously inefficient businesses. Rockefeller should have been praised, not sued.

        Land line service was so heavily subsidized for GENERATIONS that there was never a push to
        • You really need to read up on natural monopolies [wikipedia.org]. You need regulation in such cases to provide the "level playing field" that you so much desire, and net neutrality is a regulation that will promote competition.
          • That Wikipedia entry is bunk, plain and simple. Natural monopolies do not exist unless they do the nearly impossible: offer such a good quality of service at such a low price that competition would not give the consumer ANY advantage. If that is the case, then the natural "monopoly" is the best that is possible -- why do we need government to try to do better if there IS no better?

            Name an natural monopoly -- they don't exist. What does exist, for a very short period of history, is a company that works so
            • I suggest you read the wikipedia article a little more carefully, and with an understanding of basic economics. A natural monopoly is an economic concept- in some instances, it is simply not profitable for more than one company to exist. An example is water utilities- it would cost a fortune for a second company to build water pipes to your house, and if you do some analysis, it wouldn't work- they would lose money and shut down. So in some cases, a natural monopoly does exist. Beyond there, you get int
              • I read it. Twice, actually.

                It is bunk based on one sentence that is mostly repeated in thought throughout the entry:

                If not constrained by the public utility commision, the company would likly charge a far higher price and earn an abnormal profit on its capital.

                That is not true. All "natural monopolies" are constantly hounded by new competition. _ALL_ of them. No one just sits back and holds a monopoly -- if they don't constantly compete, they'll be overcome by competition. This has happened in all of h
            • Your "anarcho-capitalist" views are bunk, plane and simple :-). Name me a place where there is competition and a choice over who provides your electricity, gas or water to your home, If there is no competition or choice, then it is a monopoly. So my water utility, the electric company, and the gas company, who provide these services to my home are monopolies.
              • You just won my side of the argument -- the only monopolies that exist are those that are created by the State. Only one monopoly exists, in reality, the monopoly over the use of force. Only the State can use force "legally" and only the State uses that force to create monopolies in industry, such as a monopoly for electrical distribution, gas distribution and telephone distribution. The monopoly over the use of force is what creates those monstrosities, not the free market of natural competitive forces.
      • If it weren't for government intervention, we would still be overpaying for land-line service.

        As opposed to what? Aren't we overpaying for land-line service now?

    • by arivanov (12034) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @11:16AM (#15660182) Homepage
      If the telcos are not regulated they either coalesce into a Ma Bell or cartel the market. The bigger they are, the higher the barrier to entry for any newcomer to the point where there are no newcomers. The US internet is already 90% of the way in this direction through the Tier 1 ISP peering arrangements which are very effective cartel (as anyone working in an ISP can testify).

      This has not happen to such an extent Europe due to the prevalence of public peering which provides a very effective countermeasure to such tendencies.

      If Google has any objections to the way the US Internet is going, it should go after the peering. He who controls the peering controls the Internet.

      Google has the economical resources to perform an intervention and it should stop moaning and put its money where its mouth is. It should either initiate "Google Peering" or provide financial seeding for a foundation that will run a distributed equivalent of the Linx (or Amsix) across multiple locations in the US.

      Once a large enough proportion of the traffic is off the Tier 1 private peering links and transit connections to them they no longer have a weapon to hold the rest of the Internet hostage.
    • The consumers want one thing -- competition. Competition happens when government stays away from the market.

      What?! What?! What?!

      If government stayed out out of business monopolies we'd still be buying all our gas from Standard Oil Co. and renting our phones from AT&T.

      Regulation != monopoloy busting

      Sometimes businesses will not compete on their own and create massive barriers to market entry. This is when regulation helps to get competition going again and why people like Teddy Rosevelt knew that governm
    • Capitalism only works under certain rules. In the telco businesses, there is a massive Cost of Entry to startup a company - namely owning some fiber/cable (either backbone or "last mile"). Competition isn't going to work when people have no other alternatives because no one else can get the money together to lay loads of cable or fiber. Government regulation can be both helpful and harmful. A government is also a nice way to put a market/industry back on track if it's not following capitalist theory.
      • Really? The country's first railroads were incredible expensive, and EVERY ONE that was subsidized by the government needed more subsidies to exist. Yet the most successful railroad was completely built with private money and absolutely no land grants or eminent domain acquisitions (see the history of James J. Hill's Great Northern Railroad for proof). Railroads that used subsidies either failed or asked for more money, but Hill rolled right along, adding onto his network with profits and providing compe
    • "What we need is a realistic free market playing field of open competition for anyone who wants to jump into the business."

      The problem is that the phone industry isinherantly a monopolistic market. It takes a huge capitol investment it get into the market, which pretty much shuts out any small company entries. One of the things that scares me the most about the industry is that since the MaBell break up (which introduced some competition and reduced prices) the companies have slowly been re-merging to the p
    • Competition happens when government stays away from the market. The more we let government "regulate" net neutrality or attempt to create a level playing field, the more we'll see our prices go up, our service levels go down, and competition get wiped out of the market.

      Collusion also happens when the government stays away from the market. With no regulation, what would stop any of the smaller guys from working together to take out the big guys by any means necessary (a'la MCI). Sure, it might bring the p

    • by dominator (61418) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @11:58AM (#15660531) Homepage
      The consumers don't want competition. We want reliable, fast, inexpensive internet access. If competition is the means to that ends, then great. If government intervention will deliver it, that's great too. Whatever it takes to get me what I want.
    • Let's stop all the regulations, taxes, tariffs, fees and restrictions on media companies and let them compete openly.

      I think there are countries in Africa and South America with very little in the way of regulations, taxes, tariffs, fees and restrictions on any kind of company. Hell, they are the original 'small government' cheerleaders: in many places there's no government at all. But it you took say the state of California, which is very heavily taxed and regulated in comparison, probably all of their G
    • The consumers want one thing -- competition. Competition happens when government stays away from the market. The more we let government "regulate" net neutrality or attempt to create a level playing field, the more we'll see our prices go up, our service levels go down, and competition get wiped out of the market.

      Creating a level playing field is simple. At the point where the pipe provider looks at the packet to determine whether it comes from an 'upgrade' site and needs to be given a higher priority, t

    • Well, if we had absolutely no regulation, we'd have one single giant company that was the phone company, the cable company, the satellite TV company, the power company - everything. In fact, that's where we've been heading. And then you get very little competition indeed, and terrible quality products and services as a result. In a perfectly free market, companies do not function to serve anyone or anything except their own bottom line. In a perfectly free market, the One Giant Corporation would probabl
  • by just_forget_it (947275) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @10:44AM (#15659985)
    As long as they don't interfere with me sending an internet, more power to 'em.
  • google may be raking in the big bucks, but that net neutrality thing can potentially cut their revenue to a small trickle.

    greedy telcos simply want a slice of the google pie.

    for the love of god can some one please fucking kill (tm) those assholes.
  • by aleksiel (678251) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @10:47AM (#15659998)
    google is just just trying to keep their monopoly on the internets tubes. imho, they're being pretty greedy and its hurting the consumers. i mean, come on! it took me 5 days for the internets to download at my office!
  • by Churla (936633) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @10:49AM (#15660009)
    Just MHO.. but.. if this were them really fighting for the freedom and neutrality of the Internet then I would be all for it. But this looks more like they know they won't be able to be the big dog in on line media if other companies can restrict them because of controlling the transport.

    They're threatening to do this to protect their profitability and potential market for on demand video and TV just as much, and maybe more-so , than trying to protect some pristine concept of a neutral Internet from what I see.
    • by garcia (6573) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @11:02AM (#15660096) Homepage
      But this looks more like they know they won't be able to be the big dog in on line media if other companies can restrict them because of controlling the transport.

      Based on what Google has offered *me* in the last five or so years as opposed to what the telcos and other bandwidth providers have offered *me*, I'd have to say that we're better off w/Google being the "big dog" in online media rather than the telcos.
    • by Spad (470073) <slashdot@NOSpam.spad.co.uk> on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @11:04AM (#15660103) Homepage
      The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

      So Google's motives for this move may not be entirely altrusitic, but find me a company whose motives are. The important thing is that they're fighting on our corner.
    • You may want Google to only have noble intentions, but really thats silly. Why is it bad if a company is doing the right thing because it is in its own self interest. Isn't that an ideal situation? The whole idea of our economy is that wealth is created, so here Google is just protecting the public's wealth because it is also protecting its own pockets.

      I favor a system where the participants do the right thing because it is benificial to them. Big telco are definately not doing the right things, putting the
    • by cloricus (691063)
      As far as I am concerned Google is hitting two birds with one stone here. Sure they are protecting their profits to some extent though look at it in a bigger picture...If they wanted they could be crushing every one in a race for profits (Microsoft style) yet they are holding back and asking for the minimum they need to continue working. I see it as calling in some respect which I for one think they have earnt. On top of it they are using it as a commercial charge against those who wish to destroy the ne
    • Big company...expensive vacations/lobbying to be had...consolidation of power for those with too much of it...What more could Congress ask for get to involved?
  • by utlemming (654269) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @10:49AM (#15660010) Homepage
    This is an interesting approach in one respect -- Google actually has the money to be able to pursue anti-trust claims. Think about it. Every other group, personal or entitty that usually pursues an anti-trust claim is usually too small to do anything about it. If the Telcos decide on doing discriminating against Google, then Google can make a case and probably win some of them. If I was a Telco, I might think about playing nice.
  • by jfengel (409917) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @10:53AM (#15660029) Homepage Journal
    I've always been leery of net neutrality legislation, not because I'm opposed to the concept but because I don't expect Congress to define it correctly. I'd actually rather see it as an RFP amending the IP standard. And there are perhaps things to be accomplished by violating neutrality that would make life better rather than worse.

    But the nightmare scenario has always been there: since the number of ISPs available to most consumers are limited, that monopoly power could be used to force choices on consumers. The market could be used to reward innovative ideas that require breaking net neutrality, but monopolies break markets.

    I've never really understood what the telcos expect to get from Google on this. When Google starts getting a thousand extortion bills from a thousand separate carriers, there's no way they can track which ones are valid. (Am I going to start Bob's ISP and send Google a bill for it?) I expect Google to toss them all into the trash.

    And if they find that consumers are unable to reach them, I sure hope their lawyers can convince the courts that this is antitrust behavior. I trust the courts very slightly more than I trust Congress.
    • Yes - Most Congressmen are attorneys and they tend to complicate things. They also tend to complicate things in FAVOR of their largest donors.

      In fact the government created the problem here in the first place. The telcos and backbone providers are all government-granted monopolies. In a free market, this wouldn't even be an issue because there would be enough true competition where everyone would play fair.
  • Translation (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Were-Rabbit (959205)
    "If you come after us with a 'bandwidth invoice', we're coming after you with a federal law suit."

    I'm all in favor of Google on this one -- if it works. We all know that Google is a big target of these greedy telcos, which I find interesting due to how lightweight Google really is compared to most graphics/HTML-intensive web sites. Hopefully, other organizations will jump on-board with Google in telling the telcos where they can stick their plans for a tiered Internet.

    I know that several Slashdotter
  • All this flap (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Grand Facade (35180)
    Over putting TV on the internet, THAT is what this is really about. The major players want to prioritize traffic so their streaming TV Crap gets through. The net is for the WEB not friggin TV! Gawd, I'm gonna be really pissed when my web connection is degraded to provide a clear path for TV.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is just another example of why we need more lobbying reform. This should have never made its way to the US Senate.
  • by postbigbang (761081) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @11:36AM (#15660351)
    Google Inc vs Verizon, AT&T, QWest, et al

    Dateline San Jose CA July 5, 2011: The Google anti-trust ligitation now in its fifth year, may now come to a conclusion says Pamela Jonesish, chief blogger of CommLaw, the site that's tracking the litigation surrounding anti-trust and the old concept of 'net-neutrality'.

    "Who would have ever believed that these nutcases could have gotten this far" said Pamela, also known as PJ-ish. "When HD-IPTV finally clogged the pipes to the point where nothing could get through, even ICMP, we all knew the jig was up. Now that Verizon is in Chapter 11 and AT&T has merged with the remaining remnants of the 'baby bells', market leader Comcast-Time Warner believes that the Google litigation should end"....
  • by argStyopa (232550) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @11:42AM (#15660403) Journal
    Google finds some legislators stances on net neutrality unappealing?

    Why don't they simply illustrate the value of neutrality to said legislators?

    Joe User> Hm, I'd like to look up my congressperson.
    Search: "congressman minnesota"
    Result: (showing results 1 of 1) Netneutrality.org
    Joe User> what? That can't be right. Let me try by their name....
    Search: "congressman john smith mn"
    result: (showing results 5 of 5) netneutrality.org, anyone_but_john_smith_for_congress.net, getridofjohnsmith.org, johnsmithmolestedmydog.com, adultmalediaperfetish.net

    I would imagine they would get the point rather quickly.
  • Why even worry about net neutrality and such? We all know that as the greedy corporations tighten their grasp and bring about more legislation and regulation, that consumers generally tend to shy away from those companies and find another company that offers the same service with better terms, therefore creating competition, and eventually creating a working business model that's acceptable to the consumer/government/whomever wishes to use such a specified service. Instead of Google firing off a warning to
    • >> consumers [...] shy away from those companies and find another company that offers the same service with better terms, therefore creating competition

      I don't see that. All of the Telecom industry looks like a big rip-off to me. Meaning if you're not rip-off you're not Telcom. In other words, where is the "other company" that you can turn to?
  • by i_ate_god (899684) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @11:47AM (#15660445) Homepage
    So America will teir/toll their internet service. What does that mean for the rest of the world? Will AT&T be knocking on the doors of canadian or european based media providers demanding fees?

    If the BBC can't reach it's canadian audience because packets have to go through america first, they won't like that. If CBC can't reach its british audience because packets have to go through america first, they won't like that either. Both are crown corporations and thus negativity to them is negativity to government.

    Government subsidized extortion isn't exactly playing by the WTO rules, and could be grounds for trade sanctions against the US.

    So how does this play out over the international scale?
    • So how does this play out over the international scale?

      business decisions made with an eye to buying legislation and litigation choke off economic innovation . India and China become the loci of future IT developements. Europe muddles along like it has for the past 60 years, and we enjoy the great shakeout as gas prices rise to real levels and the loans come due.

      sure feels like monday
  • by bberens (965711) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @12:05PM (#15660570)
    Google Sue(tm) will be in BETA for at least there years.
  • by markw365 (185614) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @12:06PM (#15660576) Homepage
    If telco's and isp's start examining every packet to apply QOS to it, doesn't that exempt them from being a Common Carrier? The Common Carrier exemption they get is from not examining the traffic and just routing it. If they start looking at packets to apply prefered treatment to traffic, then they are no longer just routing. I would think they would loose their common carrier status and be liable for traffic traversing their networks.
    • This could backfire, this could make telcos the great wall of america. Otherwise its a really cool idea, that way if someone wanted to sue because their little girl got raped by a myspace bandit, they would be responsible because they were monitoring it anyway ;_)
  • by guruevi (827432) <evi@@@smokingcube...be> on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @01:22PM (#15661075) Homepage
    GOOG has been asked different times why they bought/need/want so much black fiber. First of all it's cheap now (and it might not always be) so buying in for later might be good. Another possibility is that they bought it for this very reason. Once they start suing telco's, some of them that are evil (like AT&T) might just disconnect them or pressure other telco's to stop giving them the connections they need/want. If they OWN the fiber, they just connect it and they are back in business.

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