Google announced a much-anticipated deal with Verizon that calls on the Federal Communications Commission to enforce an open and equal internet — except when it comes to wireless networks and new types of services. Confused hand-wringing has already begun.
The deal is definitely better than the one reported by the New York Times last week, in which Google was said to arrange to pay Verizon for a faster connection to users, a preferential arrangement that would be forbidden under the open "net neutrality" rules it has long championed and is now recommending to the FCC. But the wireless and special services exceptions are huge loopholes. Gizmodo's Kyle VanHemert writes that wireless networks are where the internet is growing, so leaving those users behind is "worrisome;" Dan Gillmor at Salon frets that the new rules, if adopted, could allow a parallel "premium" internet to evolve. Public interest groups will probably be equally suspicious.
But then, skepticism is the correct reaction to an "open" internet proposal developed by two massive corporations behind closed doors.