Quoted: on net neutrality — what if telcos had to pay Internet companies?

“Phone and cable companies should be careful what they wish for because this could all blow up in their face. Verizon and Comcast could end up facing serious demands for money. It could be that Google will say to the telcos, ‘Actually, if you want your customers to be able to reach Google, I’m afraid you’re going to pay us.’ ”

Tim Wu, the Columbia Law School professor who’s credited with coining the term “net neutrality,” the principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally. He tells the New York Times that the telecom companies have become too big and powerful, and that the FCC “is capable of being intimidated by them.” But could last month’s court decision to limit the FCC’s power to regulate broadband, which was widely seen as a victory for Verizon and other telecom companies — and a possible road to the Internet becoming more like cable TV, as Troy Wolverton wrote — actually backfire on fixed and wireless broadband providers?

Meanwhile, President Obama said Friday that he remains committed to a “free” Internet, mentioning that the Federal Communications Commission is looking into further action. Also last week, advocacy groups delivered to the FCC a petition with more than 1 million supporters urging the FCC to save net neutrality. And Politico says a group of legislators is drafting a bill, which could be unveiled today, that would revive the FCC’s Open Internet Order.

 

Photo of Verizon sign from Reuters archives

 

 

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