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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 9, 2010
3:56 PM

CONTACT: Free Press

Liz Rose, Communications Director, 202-265-1490 x 32;
Jenn Ettinger, Media Coordinator, 202-265-1490 x 35

Free Press Urges Policymakers to Reject Google-Verizon Pact

WASHINGTON - August 9 - In response to today's announcement by Google and Verizon that the two companies had established a joint policy proposal for the open Internet, Free Press Political Adviser Joel Kelsey issued the following statement:

"Google and Verizon can try all they want to disguise this deal as a reasonable path forward, but the simple fact is this framework, if embraced by Congress and the Federal Communications Commission, would transform the free and open Internet into a closed platform like cable television. This is much worse than a business arrangement between two companies. It's a signed-sealed-and-delivered policy framework with giant loopholes that blesses the carving up of the Internet for a few deep-pocketed Internet companies and carriers.

"If codified, this arrangement will lead to toll booths on the information superhighway. It will lead to outright blocking of applications and content on increasingly popular wireless platforms. It would give companies like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T the right to decide which content will move fast and which should be slowed down. And it will destroy the open Internet as a platform for small business innovation and job creation, cementing companies', like Google's, dominant market power online.

"Still worse, this deal proposes to keep the FCC from making rules at all. Instead of an even playing field for everyone, it proposes taking up complaints on a case-by-case basis, or even leaving it up to third-party industry groups to decide what the rules should be. The only good news is that neither of these companies is actually in charge of writing the rules that govern the future of the Internet. That is supposed to be the job of our leaders in Washington.

"Congress and the FCC should reject Verizon and Google's plans to carve up the Internet for the private benefit of deep-pocketed special interests, and move forward with policies that preserve the open Internet for all. This begins with the FCC reasserting its authority over broadband to ensure it can protect the open Internet and promote universal access to affordable, world-class quality broadband.

"The Internet is one of our nation's most important resources, and policymakers everywhere should recognize that the future of our innovation economy is far too important to be decided by a backroom deal between industry giants."

Read the Free Press fact sheet "How the Google-Verizon Deal Threatens to Destroy the Open Internet": http://www.freepress.net/files/carving_up_the_internet.pdf

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Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. Learn more at www.freepress.net



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