Verizon: We're Still Committed To FCC Talks

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Verizon says it is committed to a Federal Communications Commission-led negotiation on broadband legislation. That came late Wednesday in response to a report it had come to a side agreement of sorts with Google.

Verizon had no comment in response to a report that the telco had come up with an agreement with Google on managing network traffic flow that would including not slowing traffic online, though it would not apply to wireless broadband, according to the story by Bloomberg's Todd Shields.

"We've been working with Google for 10 months to reach an agreement on broadband policy," said company spokesman David Fish in an e-mail. "We are currently engaged in and committed to the negotiation process led by the FCC. We are optimistic this process will reach a consensus that can maintain an open Internet and the investment and innovation required to sustain it."

Representatives of Google and Verizon had been in meetings with FCC chief of Staff Ed Lazarus Wednesday about possible legislative solutions to clarifying the agency's authority to regulate network management, just the latest of a series of such meetings. An agreement between Google and Verizon on a broadband policy they could both live with would be atleast a step in that direction.

"The broad stakeholder discussions continue to actively include Google and Verizon," said the FCC in a statement late Wednesday.

Public Knowledge, which is part of the Open Internet Coalition, whose representative Markham Erickson has been in the FCC meetings, backs commission chairman Julius Genachowski's proposal to classify broadband transmission as a Title II service to help clarify that authority. It, for one, was not happy with the report.

"The deal between Verizon and Google about how to manage Internet traffic is deeply regrettable and should be considered meaningless," said Public Knowledge president Gigi Sohn. "As a legal agreement, it is not binding on either company. As an agreement in principle, it should not be taken as a template or basis for Congressional action."

Free Press, another fan of Title II reclassification, said the report underscored the need for the FCC to step in.

"Two of the largest companies - Google and Verizon - have reportedly agreed to abandon consumer protections, filter content and limit choice and free speech on the mobile Internet," said Free Press president Josh Silver in a statement. "If true, the deal is a bold grab for market power by two monopolistic players. Such abuse of the open Internet would put to final rest the Google mandate to ‘do no evil."

Google's press team had not returned an e-mail for comment by press time.

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