Is The 'Net Still Neutral? Inside Google & Verizon's Deal

Companies say they're trying to make the Internet more open

By Scott Budman
|  Monday, Aug 9, 2010  |  Updated 2:09 PM PDT
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Is the 'net still neutral?

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Is the Internet, despite the rumors, actually getting more open?

There was lots of ink and talk Thursday about Google and Verizon linking up to set "net neutrality" aside and make sure Google got preferential treatment. Not so, say the CEOs of both companies.

Google and Verizon just wrapped up a joint news conference and came forward with an idea they say will actually make the Internet at least as neutral as before.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt, after taking a shot at the New York Times (no, he says, the rumors you reported on were false),  says the two companies have been talking about new transparent, enforceable guidelines to make the internet more open than it has been in the past. Then, Verizon's Ivan Seidenberg says, yes, we also want equality and openness, without too many rules.

The upshot?  This blog post from Google.

What does all this mean?  Verizon seems to be saying that at some point, some 'net-related services could be paid for. Google seems to be backing away from that and says its offerings, including YouTube, will always be free.

So what changes?  For now, it seems like not much. In the future, carriers like Verizon may offer premium-type services. Nothing yet, at least pending FCC approval. For Google's part, it seems to be important for the company to point out that last week's rumors were wrong.

Stay tuned.

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