Say it ain’t so!? According to the New York Times, Google is near agreement on terms of a tiered pricing model for its services on Verizon lines.
Update: Google is flat out denying the Times story from their
Public Policy Twitter account
Update#2 Now Verizon has chimed in with their statement:
So there seems to be some misconceptions here. The Google-Verizon Deal would prioritize certain types of packets (packets are the little data bits that flow through routers – a Voice Packet can be differentiated against a Image or video packet in what Network administrators call Quality of service or QoS), not where packets are coming from. To give the example that Eric Schmidt gave above, VoIP packets would be given the priority over video packets. Seems fair right? Voice is a very small but important bandwidth user that you don’t want degrading while someone else in your house is watching a HD Movie streaming from Netflix?
So is it healthy that where the packets come from wouldn’t be discriminated against? For instance, if I have a video server serving up Flash video at an ISP, it should get the same data throughput as YouTube videos being streamed to TVs.
HEre’s where that gets messy: If Google or any other company invents and patents a certain type of protocol and others can’t use it, Verizon could decide to prioritize that over another similar – but different protocol.
For instance: If Verizon invented a new type of video protocol which others didn’t use for whatever reason, they could decide that that was important and give priority to that service, which would give Verizon and its partners an unfair advantage.
It reminds me a bit of segregation in the US. Separate is never equal.
As a consumer, I wonder why the telcos can’t pour more of their energy into giving us such high speed and low latency networks that packet priority doesn’t matter. All packets, whether they are for huge movies or VoIP conversations arrive in time for them to become useful. QoS/Packet prioritization is only necessary when there is a shortage of bandwidth.
Perhaps we should be attacking the other end of the equation.
Three years ago in France, consumers could buy 100Mb Upload/download Fiber to the home (including TV and Phone for €50/month). And with that, three different companies (both telephone and cable) are competing to give it to you. Ironically, I could watch videos from servers based in America better in France than I can in the US.
In the US, my Optimum Online $50/month price for stand alone cable Internet speeds (which haven’t gotten much faster over the past decade) can’t handle streaming Hulu or YouTube videos without often having hiccups.
Google has tried to shame the telcos with its 1Gb Fiber to the home campaign but today’s news seems to indicate that they’ve taken a different tact.
So, hearing that Google may be in bed with Verizon to charge consumers even more for a tiered version of a lousy, underperforming service rubs us all the wrong way. Hopefully Google will get the message and get back on track.