fter a few days of absorbing the criticism of its joint proposal with Verizon, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) — a company that was once counted as a stalwart in the push for Net neutrality — is defending itself.
In a nutshell, the plan calls for excluding the mobile Internet from most of the consumer protections that would apply to the wired Internet. It would allow the creation of a “private” Internet, where service providers such as Verizon could offer as-yet-undefined broadband services.
Both companies were hit with a wave of criticism following their announcement, but the comments aimed at Google have been more withering because of the perception that it has sacrificed Net neutrality principles.
In making its defense, Google noted that even if people don’t agree with all of its points, the proposal at least represents progress toward resolving what has become a contentious issue. It also took pains to address what it called several “myths” circulating about the proposal, starting with the notion that Google has sold out on Net neutrality. (Its rebuttal: No progress was being made in Washington, and partnering with a provider would move the debate forward.)
Average citizens may not understand all the nuances of Net neutrality policy, but they are starting to hear about it one way or another, if only because of the ink devoted to the joint Google-Verizon proposal, said Scott Testa, a business professor at Cabrini College.
It is the type of debate that can easily devolve into evil versus good, he observed, depending on who is framing the issue.
“I think at a certain level, people’s gut reaction when they hear the bare-bones argument is to side with Net neutrality,” said Testa. “People are leery of the Internet being “controlled” by any one party.”