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October - 2010 - issue > Editor's Desk
Are We Repeating Adam's Mistake?
Christo Jacob
Friday, October 1, 2010
At times snakes are afraid of a sleuthhound army of ants. This reminds me of Google and Verizon’s current move on killing the open Internet policy. Is it because of Google’s insecurity, fearing the killer startups popping on a daily basis or an aging Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s anxiety to keep his venture in a safer mode by dominating Internet for the rest of his life?

Google’s proposal cannot be justified from any angle. If the deal between the Internet giant Google and the telecommunications behemoth Verizon comes to pass in Federal Communications Commission (FCC), it could signal the biggest blow yet to the principle of net neutrality - the notion that all networks should treat all Internet sites equally. The proposal is about altering the access to Internet. But the fact is that they are not altering it. Internet will continue to be the same.

Google’s new proposal says websites that pay a fee to the network provider would have their sites open faster than those that do not. In such a pay-to-play Internet, startups will suffer as they will not be able to compete with larger commercial entities. It is legitimate for a broadband provider (who claims to be an ISP) to place restrictions on the consumer for how he or she uses the bandwidth that they pay for, but not to place restrictions on the content provider, as the move will kill many content providers. So, in a longer run what Google targets is ‘survival of the fittest’. Thus, many content providers and startups would have to collaborate with these big players and survive on a revenue share.

Well, Eric Schmidt is a smart guy who always accomplishes his vision with tremendous patience and perseverance. So Google and Verizon will definitely evangelize a rosy picture of their proposal towards FCC. Having known the fact that the U.S. has a notorious history of handsome money being spent on lobbyists ($3.5 billion last year), we can look forward to lobbyists too aggressively evangelizing Google’s vision.

Even in the past, a serpent seduced Eve to lobby and persuade Adam to have the fruit of knowledge, which was the biggest mistake that doomed the mankind. Beware of lobbyists! Google’s current proposal to FCC reminds me of the Serpent that can put to doom many entrepreneurs who survive on the Internet. The world has to wake up and continue to evangelize retaining Internet as an open medium. Let’s not make another big mistake, which will have a terrible backlash on our own freedom!

Please do share your thoughts with us.

Christo Jacob
Managing Editor

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