So is this evil? Some say yes. Some say no. But if you are a regulated phone company (or telegraph company or any other public utility) then leaving that business for the as-yet unregulated robber baron playground of the Internet looks mighty tempting.
People close to the negotiations who were not authorized to speak publicly about them said an agreement could be reached as soon as next week. If completed, Google, whose Android operating system powers many Verizon wireless phones, would agree not to challenge Verizon’s ability to manage its broadband Internet network as it pleased.
“The point of a network neutrality rule is to prevent big companies from dividing the Internet between them,” said Gigi B. Sohn, president and a founder of Public Knowledge, a consumer advocacy group. “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.”
Update: Google says it ain’t so.
Google, however, told Computerworld this morning that there is no basis to the reports.
“The New York Times is quite simply wrong,” wrote Mistique Cano, a Google spokesman, in an e-mail. “We have not had any conversations with Verizon about paying for carriage of Google traffic. We remain as committed as we always have been to an open Internet.”
Updates: Secret talks are OK … but not secret secret talks …
Verizon said its goal is an Internet policy framework that ensures openness and accountability and incorporates specific FCC authority, while maintaining investment and innovation.
U.S. regulators ended closed-door discussions with companies on Internet regulation after Google Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. were said to have reached their own deal.