Federal Communication Commission Stories July 28, 2014

Cable companies say we’ve got it wrong on net neutrality: Google could be the real villain

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.”

Federal Communication Commission Stories May 7, 2014

Following a proposal that many fear threatens net neutrality, a plethora of tech companies today have come together to support net neutrality in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission. The group is led by Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Netflix, and Twitter, as well as many others.

The letter voices disapproval of a recent proposal that would allow people to pay more in order to gain a higher priority from their internet service provider. The letter focuses on keeping the internet open, and perhaps treated as a utility. The companies make the case that with this new paid prioritization proposition, ISPs would be discriminating both technically and financially against internet companies

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Federal Communication Commission Stories July 18, 2012

Google announced on the Google Fiber blog today that it will launch the “100 times faster than broadband” Internet service on July 26 in Kansas City. We do not know a lot about what to expect, but a Google Fiber-branded set-top box of sorts did make its way through the Federal Communications Commission in June. We will keep you posted later this month when Google reveals more about its Google Fiber plans for Kansas. Until then, you can sign up to get the latest announcements:

Google Fiber is coming to to Kansas City on July 26. We appreciate your help and support, and we feel privileged to be part of the Kansas City community. For updates on our project, please sign up for our mailing list and look out for an announcement on July 26 at http://google.com/fiber.

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Deal: Get Pixelbook at 25% off: $750!

Federal Communication Commission Stories June 13, 2012

Google released sworn denials (PDF) on Tuesday from nine Googlers who claimed they had no knowledge about data mining in the Street View mapping project.

Google Street View is a service highlighted in Google Maps and Google Earth that offers panoramic views of streets. It launched in 2007 in the United States and expanded to many cities and rural areas worldwide. The project ambitiously maps the world’s streets with photographs, but the plotting venture allegedly cropped unencrypted Internet data from wireless networks for roughly three years until 2010.

Google’s Street View automobiles gathered sensitive information, including private dispatches, as it roamed many boulevards, avenues, roads, highways, lanes, and thoroughfares across the globe. Tuesday’s unveiled declarations by nine Google engineers featured redacted names and titles, while it explicitly disclosed that the Mountain View, Calif.-based Company employees did not know about the misconduct. The Googlers were in the dark, because either content collection was not a part of their job, or they did not assess given project documentation.

It eventually became publicly clear that Street View gathered unencrypted information, like emails and Internet searches beamed between personal computers from within homes, thanks to German regulators who began to probe the mapping service in their country. When the findings came to light, Google fingered a nameless engineer as being solely responsible for the action, which resulted in a Federal Communications Commission inquiry.

The search engine did not break any laws, the regulatory body found, but it did obstruct the investigation. The F.C.C. fined the company $25,000, despite the sworn documents having been originally provided as part of the inquiry into Street View.

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