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We thought we understood the net neutrality argument: the need to ensure that ISPs like the big cable companies don’t extort cash from services like Netflix to provide them with greater bandwidth than companies who don’t pay the toll.

But no, according to Time Warner, we’ve got this backward: it’s popular websites like Google who could do the extorting, reports National Journal.

In a filing to the FCC, Time Warner Cable claimed that the controversy over Internet providers potentially charging websites for access to special “fast lanes” is a “red herring.” The real danger, the cable company claimed, is that Google or Netflix could demand payments from Internet providers. Customers expect access to the most popular websites, and an Internet provider may have little choice but to pay up.

The National Cable and Telecommunications Association, a trade association representing all the major cable companies, backed this view, saying that it’s companies like “Google, Netflix, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook” that we should be concerned about. It is, of course, merely coincidence that these are the mostly the same companies who wrote a joint letter to the FCC in support of net neutrality.

Google is on record as saying that there is no conflict between co-location – which enables faster delivery of content to consumers – and net neutrality.

We give companies like Netflix and Akamai free access to space and power in our facilities and they provide their own content servers. We don’t make money from peering or colocation; since people usually only stream one video at a time, video traffic doesn’t bog down or change the way we manage our network in any meaningful way — so why not help enable it?

The FCC has, understandably, rejected Time Warner’s claim, stating that “such conduct is beyond the scope of this proceeding.”

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3 Responses to “Cable companies say we’ve got it wrong on net neutrality: Google could be the real villain”

  1. Please Mr. FCC, the cars going through this bridge tollbooth might bill us for the wear on their tires & fuel costs! We have to be able to inspect their cars & refuse passage to whomever we want or our archaic business model & horrible customer service will go the way of the dodo!

    P.S. It just goes to show how removed from reality that Big Cable & Big Telecom are that they would pay their lawyers to file this kind of tripe earnestly thinking that a judge might not wipe his *$$ with it.

  2. mmcqueeny says:

    Peering and co-location blew up everything I thought net neutrality was; however, it is how the internet has run through to current times. Bandwidth hogs should pay for peering arrangements. A Netflix brings in 1/3 of nightly internet traffic. With that much of your business relying on pipes you don’t own, paying to ensure it processes through in a seamless manner is very important. That said, companies like Netflix and Google had paid peering arrangments already, though backbone providers like Level3 and Akamai. Adding a new cost layer on top of this is what we must fight wholeheartedly against. The people have spoken through a very successful comment period on the FCC Website. Our voices have been heard; let’s see how the proposal changes.