Comments of Google Inc.
GN Dkt. 09-191; WC Dkt. 07-52
rest of the Internet community, broadband networks constitute the essential gateways thatstand between users and everything else on the Internet.The proposed broadband openness rules are not the proverbial “solution in search of a
problem.” Rather, certain wireline and wireless providers already have engaged indiscriminatory practices, including inhibiting the use of particular applications. DeepPacket Inspection (DPI) and other sophisticated tools are providing broadband providerswith increasingly fine-grained control over what users do online. Moreover, broadband providers have existing voice and video businesses that are threatened by the rise of innovative Internet-based competitors. Along with protecting these core revenue streams,network providers have natural incentives to favor other affiliated Internet applicationsand content over those of competitors.The Commission has ample authority under the Communications Act to proceed here.
As the Supreme Court repeatedly has acknowledged, broadband providers’ transmission
networks are “communications by wire or radio” directly within the FCC’s mandate. Theservices made available via broadband Internet access significantly impact nearly allaspects of federally regulated communications, including services falling under Title II(telecommunications regulations), Title III (radio transmission) and Title VI (cableservices) of the Act. The Commission also possesses the discretion to utilize those provisions as separate grants of authority. Furthermore, Congress, in both theCommunications Act and the 2009 Recovery Act, has underscored the FCC’s mandate to preserve the openness of the Internet. However, there is no principled legal basis or demonstrated need to support extending the broadband openness rules to Internetapplications and content.While the Commission has a number of regulatory tools at its disposal to help guaranteeaccess to an open and robust Internet, Google believes that a relatively light-touch,targeted, and flexible policy framework is appropriate. We believe that the proposed broadband openness rules provide just such a framework. In particular:
The Commission should codify the four existing Internet policy principles.
The Commission should adopt a general nondiscrimination rule.
This is awell-settled standard that Congress and the FCC have applied in numerous instances tomitigate threats of anticompetitive conduct due to communications providers’ abilitiesand incentives to discriminate. In this context, “simple nondiscrimination” should prevent a broadband provider from using its control over the network to favor or disadvantage particular sources of content or applications. The standard also should prohibit imposing new charges on Internet application and content providers to reachend-users, including charges for enhanced or prioritized access.
The Commission should adopt a rule ensuring transparency.
every right to know the features and limitations of the broadband services they purchase,