The Google-Verizon framework for managing web traffic has met with widespread hostility from open internet advocates and analysts.
The proposal excludes fast-growing mobile networks and, although it forbids discrimination between different traffic streams, leaves open the possibility of “additional online services” to which the rules would not apply.
A clause stating that these managed services would need to “be distinguishable in scope and purpose from broadband internet access service[s]” has done little to placate net neutrality advocates.
Free Press attacked the agreement as “much worse than a business arrangement between two companies. It's a signed-sealed-and-delivered policy framework with giant loopholes that blesses the carving up of the Internet for a few deep-pocketed internet companies and carriers.”
The additional services category as it stands is “incredibly vague” and “wide enough to capture almost anything,” Ovum chief telelcom analyst Jan Dawson said. “The definition and limits for this category will have to be tightened up considerably before they can be meaningful.”
GigaOm blogger Stacey Higginbotham said the exclusion of wireless networks “opens the gateway for carrier blocking of certain applications delivered via the web to wireless handsets.” It may require operators to be transparent, “but firms have been transparent about blocking VoIP services like Skype from their networks for years.”