Google being dragged in some unwanted directions

As hype envelopes Google the company can't seem to avoid begin dragged into one rumor or controversy after another.

Last year, the company was rumored to be preparing a package of services to steal the productivity applications market out from under Microsoft. A few weeks ago, the rumor mill had Google developing its own PC. While it made for interesting reading, nothing came to pass with Google building out nothing more than its red-hot successful ad-supported content network.

Now the company finds itself fighting a subpoena of its search records and it is being dragged into a telecom debate that has providers such as BellSouth and Verizon pressing for companies such as Google to help share the cost of operating broadband networks by paying for the right to transmit their content, especially bandwidth hogging applications. The issue is called network neutrality and in essence it is a toll on Internet users.

On Thursday, BellSouth CTO Bill Smith reiterated to CBS MarketWatch that companies should pay for the privilege of using companies broadband pipes.

Network World columnist Scott Bradner wrote in his column this week, "In most situations this is called extortion, but the phone companies are asking us to believe that it's a service improvement."

So far, the feds do not agree that it would be an improvement. In March last year, Madison River Communications took the issue into its own hands by blocking Vonage traffic, an act that netted a US$15,000 fine from the FCC.

Two weeks ago, Google finally got pulled too far into the muck for its liking when Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg said that his company was talking to Google about Internet fees, a conversation that Google denies.

In a statement, the company said it is not discussing the issue of sharing the costs of broadband networks with any carrier. "We believe consumers are already paying to support broadband access to the Internet through subscription fees and, as a result, consumers should have the freedom to use this connection without limitations," the company said.

Meanwhile a national survey released this week by the Consumer Federation of America showed that a majority of people support legislation to keep Internet access freely available. Many fear fees could create an Internet of haves and have-nots, with the wealthiest of service providers controlling the Internet.

Google's shining star was first dragged into this debate last year when than AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre highlighted his push to collect fees by criticizing Google and VoIP provider Vonage.

The statements and the prevailing attitude of telecom providers prompted Google to hire Alan Davidson as its first Washington policy counsel in June to help combat the herd of lobbyists in Washington that work for the telecom industry.

Davidson has said that the issue is about no less than the future of the Internet.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Fontana

Network World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?