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Google Says No to QOS Fees

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
1/20/2006
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Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) said Thursday it would not pay telephone or cable companies “QOS fees” in exchange for priority treatment on the operators' broadband networks. (See Net Neutrality Goes to Washington.)

“Google is not discussing sharing of the costs of broadband networks with any carrier,” writes Google spokesman Barry Schnitt in an email to Light Reading. (See QOS Fees Could Change Everything .)

“We believe consumers are already paying to support broadband access to the Internet through subscription fees and, as a result, consumers should have the freedom to use this connection without limitations,” Schnitt says.

The “net neutrality” issue has been top of mind since three of the RBOCs -- BellSouth Corp. (NYSE: BLS), AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) -- made statements supporting the QOS fees earlier this month. BellSouth says it has already held discussions with Internet video and gaming companies to arrange higher tiers of broadband service for carrying their content.

The RBOCs' statements came just before Google announced it would begin delivering paid video content to consumers through its new video store.

Google announced last October it had opened an office in Washington D.C., with one of its main motivations to influence policy on broadband carriage issues.

“Our mission in Washington boils down to this: Defend the Internet as a free and open platform for information, communication and innovation,” wrote Google attorney Andrew McLaughlin in the company’s blog at the time. (See Google Goes to Wonkytown.)

Google's Schnitt says his company has discussed the net neturality issue with FCC officials, but he does not expect the commission to regulate on the issue anytime soon.

— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading

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