Mountain View Voice

News - August 20, 2010

Eshoo joins other Congress members to oppose Google-Verizon deal

by Daniel DeBolt

In a letter to the chair of the FCC this week, local Congresswoman Anna Eshoo and three other members of Congress stated their opposition to Google and Verizon's controversial proposal for tiered wireless Internet service.

Eshoo signed the letter to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski with three other members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee: Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, Jay Inslee of Washington, and Mike Doyle of Philadelphia.

In the letter, the group calls on the FCC to assert its authority to preserve an open Internet, opposes "paid prioritization" of Internet traffic, confronts a mysterious "managed services" loophole in the Google-Verizon proposal, and calls for the same regulations for both wireless and hard-wired Internet.

The lawmakers also issued strongly worded comments in a press release.

Eshoo: "In my Silicon Valley district there are people building the next generation of Internet breakthroughs. We cannot undermine their success by 'cable-izing' the Internet."

Inslee: "Americans' online experience shouldn't be dictated by corporate CEO's. Net neutrality is not about imposing a new set of rules, net neutrality is about preserving the open Internet and empowering consumers and small businesses to bring the next generation of entrepreneurial drive to the world wide web."

Markey: "No private interest should be permitted to carve up the Internet to suit its own purposes."

Doyle: "I am concerned that the proposal put forward by Google and Verizon could have the effect of choking off much of the most important, creative, and valuable contributions the Internet can make to the idea-driven economy of the 21st century."

Particular attention was also paid to how the Google-Verizon deal would affect the growing number of low-income Internet users who are accessing the Internet through their phones.

"At a time when research shows that low-income Americans are the fastest-growing users of the mobile web, it would be short-sighted to wall off those users from the open Internet and all of its benefits," Doyle said.

A potential loophole in the Google-Verizon proposal that gives exception to mysterious "managed services" is taken head-on as well. The Congress members say the proposal's overly broad definition of "managed services" could be interpreted in a way that could allow managed services to be "rebranded or repackaged services and applications — only with priority treatment not available to competitors." Such a loophole would allow the "exception to swallow the rule."

The letter can be found online at tinyurl.com/Eshoo2FCC.

E-mail Daniel DeBolt at ddebolt@mv-voice.com

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