Net Neutrality Coalition Crumbling?

|
December 15, 2008 8:21 a.m.

From the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.):

Google Inc. has approached major cable and phone companies that carry Internet traffic with a proposal to create a fast lane for its own content, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Google has traditionally been one of the loudest advocates of equal network access for all content providers. …

One major cable operator in talks with Google says it has been reluctant so far to strike a deal because of concern it might violate Federal Communications Commission guidelines on network neutrality.

“If we did this, Washington would be on fire,” says one executive at the cable company who is familiar with the talks, referring to the likely reaction of regulators and lawmakers.

Separately, Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. have withdrawn quietly from a coalition formed two years ago to protect network neutrality. Each company has forged partnerships with the phone and cable companies. In addition, prominent Internet scholars, some of whom have advised President-elect Barack Obama on technology issues, have softened their views on the subject.

Late Update: A pretty fierce reaction/denial from Google, which you might expect, but also from Larry Lessig, who is quoted in the Journal piece:

Missing from the article, however, is the evidence that my view is a “shift” or “soften[ing]” of earlier views. That’s because there isn’t any such evidence. My view is the view I have always had — whether or not it is the view of others in this debate.

Now no doubt my position might be wrong. Some friends in the network neutrality movement as well as some scholars believe it is wrong — that it doesn’t go far enough. But the suggestion that the position is “recent” is baseless. If I’m wrong, I’ve always been wrong.

Late Late Update: Another aspect of the Journal report that is being disputed is whether Obama has softened/shifted his position on net neutrality.

Support The TPM Journalism Fund
  • Contributions allow us to hire more journalists
  • Contributions allow us to provide free memberships to those who cannot afford them
  • Contributions support independent, non-corporate journalism
advertisement
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer:
SPECIAL DEAL FOR PAST TPM MEMBERS
40% OFF AN ANNUAL PRIME MEMBERSHIP
REJOIN FOR JUST $30