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After Buffalo, Media and Tech Can’t Look Away Any Longer

This tragedy should be a catalyst to a fundamental reckoning.
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WASHINGTON – Reports today indicate that a deal between Verizon and Google on Internet traffic management is forthcoming, and could be announced as early as Monday. According to Bloomberg News, the companies have agreed to abandon Net Neutrality protections on the mobile Internet. It remains unclear what the terms are for wired services.

At the same time, the Federal Communications Commission is convening closed-door meeting with companies to determine policies for the Internet.

Free Press president and CEO Josh Silver made the following statement:

“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. 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 ‘don't be evil.’

“If reports are accurate, such a deal would effectively create two Internets where application and content innovators have to ask Verizon and Google for permission to reach mobile Internet customers. Such a deal would make it more difficult for independent and diverse speakers to reach a broad audience and diminish the value of the mobile Internet as a new marketplace for ideas. It would mean that mobile consumers would no longer be able to access the same websites, applications and software as anyone else on the Internet.

“The financial interests of Google appear to have finally trumped its belief in policies to preserve the open Internet. A deal with Verizon cements its market power, and could make it more difficult for new app developers and software entrepreneurs to reach consumers.

“Congress and the FCC must act now to put consumers, entrepreneurs and the public interest ahead of the interests of these individual corporations. The agency must reject this framework and end the closed-door stakeholder negotiations it is now holding. The FCC cannot stand by and allow the biggest market players to create two Internets, it must enact real Net Neutrality protections that preserve openness for all Internet users, regardless of technology. We look to the FCC and Congress to deliver on President Obama’s pledge to protect Net Neutrality and promote universal access to broadband.”

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