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Re: <nettime> Google's fast track
Newmedia on Tue, 16 Dec 2008 20:26:37 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> Google's fast track


The Wall Street Journal's Google Hatchet Job
Opinion: paper helps cable,  telcos smear their biggest enemy...
08:08AM Monday Dec 15 2008 by Karl  Bode
tags: competition ? business ? Op/Ed ? content ?  net-neutrality

Tipped by viperlmw 

With Google being public enemy number  one to cable and phone companies for
their positions on network neutrality,  broadband competition, and
unlicensed White Space spectrum, they've been a  constant target of attacks
coming from phone and cable industry lobbyists and  mouthpieces. The Wall
Street Journal is playing vessel for the latest attack,  pushing leaked
information from the cable industry that Google is violating its  position
on network neutrality by promoting the idea of hosting servers on ISP
networks:

Google Inc. has approached major cable and phone companies that  carry
Internet traffic with a proposal to create a fast lane for its own
content, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Google
has  traditionally been one of the loudest advocates of equal network
access for all  content providers...One major cable operator in talks with
Google says it has  been reluctant so far to strike a deal because of
concern it might violate  Federal Communications Commission guidelines on
network neutrality.

It's a  nice win for whichever cable company leaked the news as it paints
Google as a  hypocrite ahead of next year's renewed fight over network
neutrality legislation. However, the Wall Street Journal is badly
distorting Google's  proposal for political effect. As the Google blog
explains, Google's talking  about edge caching, an idea that would save
ISPs bandwidth. That's something  that should appeal to carriers,
considering they just paid PR talking head Scott  Cleland to attack Google
for being a bandwidth glutton. Google's Richard Whitt  explains:

Edge caching is a common practice used by ISPs and application and  content
providers in order to improve the end user experience. Companies like
Akamai, Limelight, and Amazon's Cloudfront provide local caching services,
and  broadband providers typically utilize caching as part of what are
known as  content distribution networks (CDNs). Google and many other
Internet companies  also deploy servers of their own around the world.

Arguments that Akamai  engages in network neutrality violations because of
CDN caching have been  solidly deconstructed, given that the packets for
such arrangements are treated  just like any other packet. Similar deals
have been struck for years without the  Journal framing them as network
neutrality infractions. According to Google,  these new deals with ISPs are
not exclusive, and none require that Google  traffic see higher
prioritization than any other content operation. Google says  they remain
committed to network neutrality.  

While Google certainly is no saint, the Journal's piece stinks of
manufactured controversy. Perhaps the Journal was honestly confused about
the  differences between caching and packet prioritization. But when two of
your own  sources directly dispute what you're saying (Whitt, Lessig) and
your primary  anonymous source comes from an industry that's spending
millions on a campaign  to smear Google at any cost -- some red flags
should go up.  At best this was horrible reporting -- authors Kumar and
Roads conned by  their cable industry source into a position that makes
absolutely no sense. At  worst it's a public relations and political hit
job with the Journal's conscious  support. Either way, expect many, many
more of these types of disingenuous  
"debates" ahead of next year's fight over network neutrality legislation.  
There's a lot of money at stake in 2009, and as such -- a lot of money is
being  spent on both sides to frame (and often distort) the  debate."

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