Google Tries To Pave Its Own “Fast Lane” On The Web

Internet giant Google is attempting to strike deals with broadband providers that would ensure the fast delivery of Google content by placing Google servers in their technical facilities, according to a story in this morning’s Wall Street Journal.

The plan, called “OpenEdge” internally by Google, has already been shopped to major cable operators and phone companies, says the Journal. But they have been reluctant to agree to such a deal, as it could contradict the FCC’s guidelines on “net neutrality” that say that broadband providers should treat all Internet traffic equally.

Google has been a staunch supporter of net neutrality, as have its competitors Yahoo and Microsoft. But the three companies have recently softened their support of the principle of net neutrality, notes the Journal, as their businesses have become more intertwined with the businesses of cable operators and telcos who are struggling to juggle the rapid increase in Internet traffic, much of it driven by video consumption.

President-elect Barack Obama championed the idea of net neutrality during his presidential campaign. But the Journal notes that one of his key advisers on telecommunications policy and a potential candidate to be the next chairman of the FCC, Stanford University Internet law professor Lawrence Lessig, has publicly suggested that content providers should be able to pay network operators to guarantee faster delivery of their content.