Google Staying out of FCC Broadband Fight (But They’re on the FCC’s Side)
Earlier this month, the FCC lost a major battle when the US Court of Appeals decided they didn’t have the authority to regulate broadband. While the FCC can continue to appeal that decision, they’re also striving to get the definition of their authority expanded to explicitly include broadband.
And Google has no comment. On the definition issue, anyway. They’re all ready to pipe up on the central issue of the Comcast/FCC case—Net Neutrality. And they’re ready to speak up in the form of comments made to the FCC (i.e. not an amicus brief to a court):
We continue to believe that the FCC has ample legal authority to adopt broadband openness rules. In our initial comments, we explained that we agreed with the FCC that Title I of the Act appears to provide such a legal foundation for its proposed rules, and indeed for the FCC’s just-launched National Broadband Plan.
With the FCC trying to defend Net Neutrality, it’s little wonder Google wants them to win. In a non-neutral net, it’s possible that Google would face high fees from all ISPs to allow users to access the most popular site on the Internet. (Of course, conversely, ISPs might charge the users directly for accessing popular sites, or even just sites that don’t pay the ISP’s access fees. And remember that you can’t tax businesses—if Google has to pay fees to ISPs, do you really think they’re just going to eat those fees, or will they-of-the-thousand-free-products find a way to pass that cost along to users?)
Meanwhile, it’s also little wonder Google’s looking for any common ground they can find with the federal government as the search giant faces ever-increasing scrutiny of its actions from bodies including the FCC and the DOJ.
What do you think? Is Google just sucking up? Will their comments help the FCC’s case—or Google’s case with other regulatory agencies?