Google is Now the Only Repeat Net Neutrality Offender

November 23, 2009

Google is now blocking the Internet content of users’ choice in two different Google services, meaning that Google has assumed the mantle as the Internet’s only net neutrality repeat offender.

  • Google’s non-neutral behavior pattern indicates that they are confident that they don’t need to respect net neutrality because the FCC will exempt Google from any net neutrality obligations when the FCC’s proposed Open Internet regulations are formalized next year.

So what are the two different Google services that are blocking users access to the Internet content of their choice?

  • The first Google net neutrality violation has been Google’s insistence that its IP Google Voice service can block completion of phone calls to numbers that cost Google more than other calls do.
    • Google admitted in its recent FCC filing that it was indeed blocking calls to a wide variety of entities and that it still intends to continue blocking Google Voice calls to about a hundred entities that it has blackballed for charging too much.
  • The second Google net neutrality violation is Google is blocking device manufacturer Syabas’ devices from playing YouTube videos because Syabas won’t commit to an upfront multi-million advertising agreement with Google-YouTube, per Wired’s article: “YouTube Blocks Non-Partner Device Syabas as Allegations Fly.

Google-YouTube’s latest Internet blocking business practice is particularly ironic because Google-YouTube is now engaging in the exact type of behavior that Google claims got them incensed enough to pursue net neutrality legislation and regulation in the first place.

  • Google objected to ISPs expecting Google to pay more for Internet transport and to the prospect of a two-sided market. Their full throated defense was any differential treatment was discriminatory and anti-competitive because new young innovators could not afford to pay any extra to get on and benefit from the Internet.
    • Well how is that different from Google pursuing a two sided market and insisting that little manufacturers “pay to play” to the tune of several million dollars up front?
    • How are these new young innovators — that Google always claims to be protecting — going to be able to afford to innovate if they have to pay Google millions of dollars to gain access to the Internet’s increasingly dominant video service — YouTube — which has ~20 times more market share than its nearest competitor per ComScore?

The ultimate irony here is that the FCC is insisting on regulating companies which are not violating net neutrality, while insisting on exempting from regulation the Internet’s only net neutrality repeat offender.


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