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5 potential problems with a Google-Verizon net neutrality pact

Will the proposals make the net better or worse?

This week Google and US telecoms provider Verizon unveiled a proposal to maintain an open internet. We look at five problems the search engine's pact with the telecoms provider could create.

What happens to the regular internet?

The Google-Verizon proposal appears to make room for a two-tiered internet: the public net we use today and a private one for premium services. That raises the question about what happens to the regular internet in the long term? Would broadband providers be compelled to maintain and upgrade their regular internet services?

Could carriers cap regular internet speeds at a certain level, and then force users over to the proposed private service if they wanted better broadband speeds? How does an open or so-called public internet survive when corporations have financial incentives, such as private networks, to ignore it?

What will be the costs?

Finally, how much is this going to cost the regular end user? If this proposed framework succeeds and carriers are able to offer private services, what are the costs going to be?

Would fees be structured like cable packages, as some reports have suggested, where you buy one plan for entertainment services like gaming and another for services like health care monitoring? Or would services be provided a la carte, where you just pay for the access you want?

The aim of the Verizon-Google plan is to maintain an open internet and for "continued investment in broadband infrastructure." But is a proposed two-tiered broadband system that ignores the growing popularity of wireless access really a good way to maintain open Internet access for all? I'm not so sure.

See also: Opinion: Google/Verizon deal would kill net neutrality

  1. Will the proposals make the net better or worse?
  2. Why wireless is out
  3. What happens to the regular internet?

See also: Poll: 32 percent approve of web traffic prioritisation

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