You didn't think it would happen right? That, although it was a tough battle, everyone saw the sense and merits of Net-Neutrality - a global internet that doesn't penalise websites or users based on content or content demands. Even some of the big corporate's were behind the push to make sure the 'Net stayed 'neutral', including the likes of Google, MSN, Yahoo, even British Telecom and Talk Talk had voiced concerns over the topic.
Well, turns out that Google knows best... for Google.
Google and Verizon[alt] confirmed a partnership that's resulted in the Verizon-Google Legislative Framework Proposal[alt] submitted to the FCC for consideration. The policy text sets itself up to act as a 'framework' that provides a minimum guaranty of sorts, one that would protect the Internet's 'neutrality' by establishing a set of core guidelines broadband providers would have to adhere to if they wanted to provide services, that they (to paraphrase)... would not prohibit its lawful use, that there would be a general policy of "non-discrimination" (although this can be vetoed), and that there would be a general policy of 'transparency'. Okay so far. Or not.
The trouble is the verbiage of the text pretty much 'locks' the Internet's development to where it is right now, i.e. it doesn't set out in black and white anything other than 'ensuring' standards and customer expectations are met, it's doesn't make any reference or commitments to future development of the Internet we currently have, instead they're obliged (as far as can be expected to) to just make sure it works and in such a way that providers can prioritise traffic, purely on a basis of congestion of course;
Network Management: ... to prioritize general classes or
types of Internet traffic, based on latency...
And how are they going to do this? by developing a separate and distinct network, they call it a 'differentiated service', that would provide services based on content and traffic prioritisation;
Additional Online Services: A provider that offers a broadband Internet access service complying with the above principles could offer any other additional or differentiated services. Such other services would have to be distinguishable in scope and purpose from broadband Internet access service, but could make use of or access Internet content, applications or services and could include traffic prioritization.
The indirectly stated purpose of this, which is why the news posting is being made here on KatsBits, is that according to statement reported in the Daily Mail, Verizon's chief executive, Ivan Seidenberg, suggested that the service would probably have 3D video and gaming in its sights. So... using too much traffic play MMO's or online FPS games? You'll have the option of paying premium services for better connectivity. Not that that's a guaranty of course, but you can pay extra to find out anyway (subject to a minimum 18 or 24 month contract with early termination fees applicable).
Oh and, whilst the proposals give the FCC "exclusive authority to oversee" services, they shouldn't be permitted to have authority to "regulate" them. Meaning, the FCC sets the standards and compliance requirements but has no say in who is permitted to be a service provider(?), they would have no authority to regulate services offered or content provided. In other words, services providers would be in complete control of their networks and their content/service provision; where they can go, who can use and access them as well as the type of content available (normal 'free market' dynamics applicable).