Google, Verizon, and the future of the Internet

Last week, Google and Verizon denied they were negotiating a deal that could undermine Net neutrality. Here's what might really be going on

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3. Google and Verizon are not talking yet, but they're thinking about it

Maybe some flirting has been going on between Beauty and the Beast, but they're a little concerned about what the townsfolk might think. So they arranged for this leak to occur and are watching carefully to see if anyone notices or cares. Google will take the bigger PR hit here since Verizon already has a poor reputation for these kind of shenanigans, but the outcry (if any) will allow Google to calibrate its actions for whenever such discussions truly come to pass. It's a shot across the bow, so to speak.

4. Google and Verizon aren't talking at all

This seems the least likely of all. There's too much substance to these rumors, and the FCC's subsequent abandonment of Net neutrality talks must be predicated on something. Maybe it's not Google and Verizon -- maybe it's Google and Comcast, or Microsoft and AT&T, or any other mix of large technology companies that believe that the Internet is their playground and we all must pay ever-increasing prices to access what is and has always been a public resource.

Any one of these possibilities may be true, but it's unlikely we'll know until it's too late. Taken at face value, the positions of the big ISPs seem fairly benign, their arguments make a tiny little bit of sense. Someone with the knowledge of how these things actually work and with the knowledge of how completely untrustworthy the big carriers really are can see right through those arguments to the nasty underbelly of what they're actually shooting for: the ability to strong-arm customers into paying exorbitant rates for something that belongs to everyone. This is exactly why monopolies are bad.

We've been teetering on the brink of a tiered Internet for quite some time now, and it seems that the entrenched corporations are pushing us closer and closer to the edge. Once the Internet loses its balance, it's unlikely to ever recover.

This story, "Google, Verizon, and the future of the Internet," was originally published at Read more of Paul Venezia's The Deep End blog at

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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