updated 06:20 pm EST, Wed November 17, 2010
FCC says Google, Verizon proposal worsened talks
The Google and Verizon net neutrality proposal ultimately hurt progress more than it helped, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said at the Web 2.0 Summit today. He liked the idea of opposing sides coming to a deal, but the timing "slowed down some other processes" and prevented a deal that was otherwise getting close. The details of what went wrong weren't disclosed.
Publicly, the FCC has criticized the proposal as it was only going to spur more talk and prevent real action. Some FCC officials and Democrat congresspeople have also vocally opposed the suggestions as agreeing to the deal on its face value would be tantamount to letting a corporation dictate telecom policy. Both government sides until the fall election have also pointed out that the policy's main focus, exempting cellphones from regulation, was self-serving for Verizon as it would damage net neutrality just as the issue was becoming important.
Critics have also expressed concern that Google was siding with Verizon solely to help relations its most important carrier partner for Android.
A recent shift back towards a Republican-led Congress shouldn't affect the FCC's goals, Genachowski said, since "partisan" issues didn't belong while others appealed to both sides. He pointed to the value of future spectrum and the re-purposing of the Universal Service Fund to broadband as mutual interests.
Most of the FCC's hopes for wireless hinge on the use of the cleared 700MHz space for 4G on AT&T, Verizon and other major US providers. The recent decision to allow white space wireless use may also help by letting individuals and Internet providers alike share connections over much longer distances.