Uncommon Wisdom

Aug 25 2010   1:23PM GMT

Verizon/Google net neutrality joint venture: An articulation minefield

Tom Nolle Tom Nolle Profile: Tom Nolle

Talking about its much-criticized joint declaration on net neutrality with Google, Verizon commented that what the document calls “managed services,” which operate likely using IP but will be independent of the Internet, are the future of broadband rather than the Internet. These comments, like the wording of the net neutrality document, illustrate both the gulf in articulation between telcos and the media, as well as the telco’s view of the future.

Broadband’s future is what pays the bills — that’s what the company is saying. Internet access clearly will not do that in the long term (it often fails in the present). Operators need to define new services that are profitable enough to help subsidize broadband access, and so meet both their shareholders’ expectations and public policy broadband goals. Developing these services on the Internet is clearly possible but clearly could not hope then to subsidize Internet broadband costs, since other competitors without those costs would then undercut the telcos in pricing.

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