Opinion Brief

'The end of the internet as we know it'?

Does a deal between Google and Verizon threaten the most basic principle of the internet — namely, that all information is treated equally?

Google and Verizon are reportedly on the cusp of an agreement that would, according to some commentators, do away with the long-held principle that all online content has equal priority. According to The New York Times, Google would agree not to launch a challenge were Verizon to institute a system offering preferential — that is, speedier — delivery "if the content's creators are willing to pay for the privilege." With Google and Verizon both denying that a deal is in the works, are "net neutrality" advocates overreacting? (Watch an MSNBC report about the reported deal)

R.I.P., internet: This deal "marks the beginning of the end of the Internet as you know it," says Josh Silver in the Huffington Post. Because internet giants like Verizon, Comcast and Google have "near-complete control of Capitol Hill," they have the power to pick the "winners and losers" of the internet. This would demolish the egalitarian nature of the web by giving preference to "massive media corporations." "Google-Verizon deal: The end of the internet as we know it"

Everybody, relax: "Despite the fever dreams" of net neutrality activists, says Dana Blankenhorn in ZDNet, Google is not killing the internet. Fact is, "Google has no financial incentive to sell out net neutrality." They do, however, have "every reason to come up with a fair agreement" with the telecom companies that would "allow the market to move forward, in Google’s direction." That's not "Google doing evil. That’s Google doing business so the rest of us can, too.""Google is not selling out the internet"

Perhaps this will jolt the FCC into action: There are some vague hints that the Federal Communications Commission is finally ready to assert itself and impose a meaningful regulatory scheme supporting the principle of net neutrality, says Tony Bradley in PC World. In the end, that's the only meaningful solution to problem of greedy corporations wanting to do away with online democracy."End of net neutrality good news for internet"

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