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Google: No Talks with Verizon About Paying for Priority Carriage

Google said
Thursday it had no deal with Verizon to pay for priority Intnernet
treatment. "We have not had any conversations with Verizon about paying
for carriage of Google or YouTube traffic," said
Google spokesperson Mistique Cano in an e-mail to Multi/B&C. "The
New York Times piece is quite simply wrong."

"The NYT article regarding conversations between Google and Verizon is mistaken," said Verizon spokesman David Fish in a blog posting Thursday. "It fundamentally misunderstands our purpose. As we said in our earlier FCC filing, our goal is an Internet policy framework that ensures openness and accountability, and incorporates specific FCC authority, while maintaining investment and innovation. To suggest this is a business arrangement between our companies is entirely incorrect."

 The Times
reported that the two companies were in talks about an agreement that
would allow Verizon to expedite some online content, "Like [Google's]
YouTube,"  if content providers were willing to
pay for it. Google is looking to do more long-form, ad-supported video
on YouTube, for example.

As to the
initial Bloomberg report that Google had an agreement with Verizon more
generally on Web traffic management, she had no comment beyond saying:
"We remain as committed as we always have been
to an open Internet."

Google and
Verizon are already on the same page on a number of network neutrality
issues, having filed joint comments on the FCC's network neutrality
rulemaking outlining their points of agreement.
But if a deal for prioritizing Google content was not being talked
about by the companies, as Cano contends, it was certainly a hot topic
of conversation by their critics.

The reports
drew a slew of heated responses. "Google and Verizon cut deal to carve
up the Internet," was how Free Press headlined its release. "The deal
marks the beginning of the end of the Internet
as we know it."

"The world's
biggest media companies want to define how people will get content over
the Internet. Money talks; independent content creators: take a walk,"
was how Lowell Peterson, executive director
of the Writers Guild of America put it. "A mega-deal is reportedly in
the works in which Verizon will favor Internet content from Google
because Google has the spare cash to pay for preferred access."

In the wake
of the press reports, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) pushed the FCC to do
something soon on network neutrality, citing the reported agreement
between Google and Verizon on network traffic management--Markey
characterized it as paid prioritization of 'net traffic.

potential deal between two broadband behemoths underscores the need for
the FCC to act quickly to protect the free and open Internet," Markey
said in a statement. "In the absence of such action,
it's increasingly clear that cozy cooperation between communications
colossi will reign on the Internet. No one should be surprised that such
companies will seek to slant the playing field in their favor, a result
that will stifle the next generation of Internet
innovators and short-circuit the economic benefits needed to power our
economy in the 21st century.  It is time for the FCC to step in to
protect consumers, innovation, and fair competition."

Markey was
active on the Internet front Thursday, joining with Rep. Joe Barton
(R-Tex.) to ask a number of Web sites, including those of Comcast and
MSNBC, for info on how they tracked and targeted
Markey is a
long-time proponent of network neutrality, including introducing bills
on the subject, most recently H.R. 3458, the Internet Freedom
Preservation Act, introduced in July of 2009.