15 Dic No, Google Isn’t Abandoning Network Neutrality
Broadband Reports, NY, By Karl Bode, December 15, 2008
With Google being public enemy number one to cable and phone companies for their positions on network neutrality, broadband competition, and unlicensed White Space spectrum, they’ve been a constant target of all manner of attacks coming from phone and cable industry lobbyists and their hired mouthpieces. The Wall Street Journal is playing vessel for the latest attack, pushing leaked information from the cable industry that Google is violating its position on network neutrality by promoting the idea of hosting servers on ISP networks: 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. It’s a nice win for whichever cable company leaked the news as it paints Google as a hypocrite ahead of next year’s renewed fight over network neutrality legislation. However, the Wall Street Journal is intentionally distorting Google’s proposal for political effect. As the Google blog explains, Google’s talking about edge caching, an idea that would save ISPs bandwidth. That’s something that should appeal to carriers, considering they just paid PR talking head Scott Cleland to attack Google for being bandwidth Gluttons. Google’s Richard Whitt explains: Edge caching is a common practice used by ISPs and application and content providers in order to improve the end user experience. Companies like Akamai, Limelight, and Amazon’s Cloudfront provide local caching services, and broadband providers typically utilize caching as part of what are known as content distribution networks (CDNs). Google and many other Internet companies also deploy servers of their own around the world. Arguments that Akamai engages in network neutrality violations because of CDN caching have been solidly deconstructed, given that the packets for such arrangements are treated just like any other packet. Similar deals have been struck for years without the Journal framing them as network neutrality infractions. According to Google, these new deals with ISPs are not exclusive, and none require that Google traffic see higher prioritization than any other content operation. Google says they remain committed to network neutrality. Odds are very good that painting Google’s CDN caching plans as network neutrality hypocrisy is a political play, by the same Comcast-employed lobbyists that use corn farmers to attack Google on privacy.