Parsing Google's Mobile Openness

5:15 PM -- Let's take another look at the wireless-specific statement in Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s joint public proposal on the Internet today. (See Verizon & Google Define an 'Open Internet'.)

Here's the paragraph from the blog post:

    We both recognize that wireless broadband is different from the traditional wireline world, in part because the mobile marketplace is more competitive and changing rapidly. In recognition of the still-nascent nature of the wireless broadband marketplace, under this proposal we would not now apply most of the wireline principles to wireless, except for the transparency requirement. In addition, the Government Accountability Office would be required to report to Congress annually on developments in the wireless broadband marketplace, and whether or not current policies are working to protect consumers.

How do you read that? There will be transparency in how much people will pay for their service but no over-arching net neutrality rules, it seems.

Verizon's Ivan Siedenberg said on the call that putting too many restrictions on wireless networks now would not allow for the "supercharged growth" of the wireless Internet over time.

I wonder how much this might affect Verizon's plans for open devices on its CDMA and LTE networks, i.e., gear that you can buy without a contract? I'm still waiting for a call-back from Verizon on this, hopefully I can let you know.

Certainly, Google seems to have found that it is not as easy to break the cycle of two-year contracts with each new device. The relative flop of the Nexus One in the US saw to that.

Still the pair do say at the top of their joint blog: "Users should choose what content, applications, or devices they use, since openness has been central to the explosive innovation that has made the Internet a transformative medium."

I get the feeling this is just the start of this latest net neutrality spat. After all, we haven't even heard comment from any other carriers or cable operators on the modest Verizon and Google proposal yet.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:27:32 PM
re: Parsing Google's Mobile Openness

One further observation, it is not as if there's much openness or transparency to be had on the US wireless scene now anyway. Can you lose what you never had?

cnwedit 12/5/2012 | 4:27:30 PM
re: Parsing Google's Mobile Openness

The problem with terms such as "open" and "transparent" is that they mean very different things to the people on opposite sides of this argument. To the Net Neutrality crowd, open and transparent means consumers buy a phone, pick a network and get an all-you-can-eat data plan that allows them to watch videos on a mobile phone, and access any Internet applications that they chose, all at very low cost.

While that's an attractive picture for consumers, it doesn't pay the freight for building out the wireless infrastructure that is going to support all that content delivery, and that's where the real rubber meets the road for wireless Net Neutrality.

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