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    Top Tech Watch: Google and Verizon ink Proposal for “Internet Bill of Rights”

    Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) and telecom giant Verizon Communication Inc. (NYSE: VZ) recently submitted a seven-part legal proposal to safeguard what they are calling “net neutrality” but decided jointly that the proposed rules should not apply to wireless broadband Internet connections. Google and Verizon jointly laid out a detailed plan for U.S. legislators to craft an all inclusive set of laws designed to prevent Internet service providers from violating the idea of “net neutrality” by giving some data priority over other information though the acceptance of payments to headline certain Internet traffic.

    Recommending that wireless Internet connections be exempt from net neutrality rules played into fears that Google is changing allegiance in the battle to stop Internet service providers (ISPs) from giving preferential treatment to those that pay. In essence the prioritizing of online traffic making some data’s travel faster than others would be illegal.

    According to the proposal, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) whose officials reviewed the Google-Verizon proposal and declined to comment on it, would have the authority to regulate wired broadband Internet providers to ensure consumers have access to all legal content and applications on the Internet. In addition the FCC would be able to respond to complaints with a penalty of up to $2 million. The proposed framework would ban “undue discrimination against any lawful Internet content.

    The FCC would have exclusive authority to oversee broadband Internet access service but would not have power over online applications, content or services. The FCC would also monitor services by Internet Service Providers to make certain they were implemented fairly, according guidelines set out by the proposal.

    In April, a U.S. court of appeals dealt a major blow to the FCC’s stance that would force ISPs to treat all Web traffic equally. The court ruled in favor of broadband provider Comcast Corp. in a case seen as a test of the FCC’s authority to enforce net neutrality. The court ruled that Congress had not granted legal right to the FCC to regulate the network management practices of ISPs. While Google has seemed to change their position on the subject recently, its affiliation with Verizon in this capacity has drawn into question the nature of the newly formed Google-Verizon workings.

    The proposal also calls for letting broadband service providers freely offer their own online services such as Verizon FIOS TV, which is currently available.

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