Google: champion of net neutrality?

by Timothy Prickett Morgan,

Vinton Cerf is the former telecommunications executive from MCI who is now the chief Internet evangelist at Google. He is also famous as one of the co-inventors of the Internet Protocol, the IP part of TCP/IP. Cerf is also one of the loudest critics of creating tiered Internet services--and as such, he is a staunch supporter of net neutrality, which the U.S. Congress is still trying to cope with as telecom companies and other IT players lean on it with the pros and cons of net neutrality.

Cerf suggested in a speech last week that he gave in Bulgaria, where he was visiting at the invitation of Bulgarian president Georgi Parvanov, that Google might resort to the courts if a net neutrality law is not passed by Congress and telecom and other service providers in some way restrict access to information out there on the Internet.

"If we are not successful in our arguments, then we will simply have to wait until something bad happens and then we will make known our case to the Department of Justice's antitrust division," he said in his speech, which was reported by Reuters.

With deep pockets (Google has about $3 billion in cash, and a business that keeps throwing off cash as each quarter rolls by) and a vested interest in keeping access to the Internet and the speed of information packet sharing neutral--no one gets priority packet routing on the Internet, even if they buy more bandwidth--Google could end up being the champion of net neutrality. Which still doesn't excuse the company's behavior in China, where it has agreed to censorship by the Chinese government.

article originally published at

The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey