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The Wall Street Journal's Google Hatchet Job
Opinion: paper helps cable, telcos smear their biggest enemy...
by Karl Bode 08:08AM Monday Dec 15 2008 Tipped by viperlmw See Profile
With Google being public enemy number one to cable and phone companies for their positions on network neutrality, broadband competition, and unlicensed White Space spectrum, they've been a constant target of attacks coming from phone and cable industry lobbyists and mouthpieces. The Wall Street Journal is playing vessel for the latest attack, pushing leaked information from the cable industry that Google is violating its position on network neutrality by promoting the idea of hosting servers on ISP networks:
Google Inc. has approached major cable and phone companies that carry Internet traffic with a proposal to create a fast lane for its own content, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Google has traditionally been one of the loudest advocates of equal network access for all content providers...One major cable operator in talks with Google says it has been reluctant so far to strike a deal because of concern it might violate Federal Communications Commission guidelines on network neutrality.
It's a nice win for whichever cable company leaked the news as it paints Google as a hypocrite ahead of next year's renewed fight over network neutrality legislation. However, the Wall Street Journal is badly distorting Google's proposal for political effect. As the Google blog explains, Google's talking about edge caching, an idea that would save ISPs bandwidth. That's something that should appeal to carriers, considering they just paid PR talking head Scott Cleland to attack Google for being a bandwidth glutton. Google's Richard Whitt explains:
Edge caching is a common practice used by ISPs and application and content providers in order to improve the end user experience. Companies like Akamai, Limelight, and Amazon's Cloudfront provide local caching services, and broadband providers typically utilize caching as part of what are known as content distribution networks (CDNs). Google and many other Internet companies also deploy servers of their own around the world.
Arguments that Akamai engages in network neutrality violations because of CDN caching have been solidly deconstructed, given that the packets for such arrangements are treated just like any other packet. Similar deals have been struck for years without the Journal framing them as network neutrality infractions. According to Google, these new deals with ISPs are not exclusive, and none require that Google traffic see higher prioritization than any other content operation. Google says they remain committed to network neutrality.

While Google certainly is no saint, the Journal's piece stinks of manufactured controversy. Perhaps the Journal was honestly confused about the differences between caching and packet prioritization. But when two of your own sources directly dispute what you're saying (Whitt, Lessig) and your primary anonymous source comes from an industry that's spending millions on a campaign to smear Google at any cost -- some red flags should go up.

At best this was horrible reporting -- authors Kumar and Roads conned by their cable industry source into a position that makes absolutely no sense. At worst it's a public relations and political hit job with the Journal's conscious support. Either way, expect many, many more of these types of disingenuous "debates" ahead of next year's fight over network neutrality legislation. There's a lot of money at stake in 2009, and as such -- a lot of money is being spent on both sides to frame (and often distort) the debate.

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Yarmouth Port, MA

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reply to dec15

Re: Just the Facts

said by dec15 :

There is obvious anti-cable/telco in news posted at DSLR. That is unfortunate as perpetuating hate does not make things better.
That's the stupidest thing I've heard in a week, topping even the WSJ article that launched this discussion.

The people that are here at BroadbandReports or DSLReports are here because they like high-speed Internet.

If they're "anti-" anything, it's antics that are likely to threaten the future of high-speed Internet. That's not an anti-Telco or anti-Cable bias, that's an anti-stupidity bias. And the news pages dish it out pretty evenly -- giving credit and discredit to companies, individuals, government bodies that impact the future of the Internet.
Robb Topolski -= funchords.com =- Hillsboro, Oregon -- KJ7RL
What you do at Christmas does not matter so much; What counts are the Christmas things you do all year through.



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Who's painting who as the "bad guy" here? Can't you just report the news vs how you want people to interpret it?