Once again, the bigwig leaders in the service provider and vendor community are gathering behind closed doors this week at the Information Technology Industry Council, a Washington-based lobbying group, to see if they can come up with yet another net neutrality plan.
A Wall Street Journal article confirmed that a number of large telcos including AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ), vendors including Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), and cable (National Cable & Telecommunications Association) lobbyists have gathered discuss how to manage Internet traffic.
"Today's meeting is the first in a series of focused discussions, with ITI serving as facilitator, aimed at developing Internet openness principles that can achieve broad cross-sector support," said Dean Garfield, president of ITI, in a statement. "Over the last few months, much work has been directed at developing such a solution--including by Google--with significant positive steps forward."
Of course, the FCC's own net neutrality drive came to a halt when news broke that Google and Verizon jointly developed their network management proposal, which excluded wireless. A number of public interest groups, including Public Knowledge, immediately panned the joint proposal as "nothing more than a private agreement between two corporate behemoths, and should not be a template or basis for either Congressional or FCC action." However, Ralph de la Vega, President and CEO of AT&T Mobility said last week that his company supports the plan.
Despite its aggressive involvement in net neutrality, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) decided to not take part in the talks. "We took our best shot at a constructive proposal. This is an important issue and we support any attempt to move the ball forward," said a Google spokeswoman.
Similarly, the FCC, which also is not participating in the discussions either said in a statement that they "we're glad that there is ongoing dialogue."
- Wall Street Journal has this story (sub. req.)
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