FCC calls off closed-door net neutrality meetings

Negotiations scrapped after Google and Verizon make private agreement
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The US Federal Communications Commission has ended the network neutrality negotiations that it had been conducting behind closed doors with several major US ISPs, Google, Skype and the Open Internet Coalition.

According to Giga Om, the move came following revelations that Google and Verizon had reached their own agreement outside the FCC’s talks, with the government watchdog pledging to “seek broad input on this vital issue” in future discussions – a stance that has been welcomed by internet rights groups that had criticised the ‘closed door’ policy.

According to Politico, the Google/Verizon deal would prevent Verizon from blocking traffic, but would allow it to prioritise bandwidth allocation for certain premium services, such as paid movie downloads.

“What is good for Google and Verizon is not necessarily good for innovation and competition on the Internet,” said the senior vice president of the Media Access Project, Jay Schwartzman.

“Even though the two incumbents have chosen to set an exclusive deal with each other, the FCC must stay the course to reaffirm its broadband oversight authority by enacting transparent and enforceable rules that benefit everyone, not just the largest companies.”

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