Google changes stance on Net Neutrality


November, 2012; in a filing with the FCC to try and protect the net neutrality rules:

[Google, and other Intervenors] have come to rely on that openness and the fundamental “end-to-end” network architecture of the Internet. Intervenors are therefore keen to preserve that openness against threats from the broadband providers that control American consumers’ and small businesss’ access to the Internet. The Coalition counts among its members and participants content and Internet service providers who would not have been household names but for the platform’s openness, such as Google,, and many other successful businesses built upon the “innovation without permission” principle. The Coalition also inc ludes DISH, Netflix, Skype, Vonage, and other companies whose video, voice, and other services compete directly with those offered by vertically integrated broadband service providers.

July, 2013; Google, after becoming a broadband provider, apparently decides that it may have been too hasty before.

In a dramatic about-face on a key internet issue yesterday, Google told the FCC that the network neutrality rules Google once championed don’t give citizens the right to run servers on their home broadband connections, and that the Google Fiber network is perfectly within its rights to prohibit customers from attaching the legal devices of their choice to its network.

At issue is Google Fiber’s Terms of Service, which contains a broad prohibition against customers attaching “servers” to its ultrafast 1 Gbps network in Kansas City.

Google wants to ban the use of servers because it plans to offer a business class offering in the future. A potential customer, Douglas McClendon, filed a complaint against the policy in 2012 with the FCC, which eventually ordered Google to explain its reasoning by July 29.

In its response, Google defended its sweeping ban by citing the very ISPs it opposed through the years-long fight for rules that require broadband providers to treat all packets equally.

Apparently, now that it controls the pipe, it decided pretty quickly, that it's actually in disagreement with its former self, and now seems to agree with the companies they were petitioning against less than 9 months ago.

Now, of course Google and Google apologists will probably be quick to start making up deflections about what is and isn't a "server" and what content is and isn't covered by the net neutrality rules; but the legally binding language of the ToS of Google Fiber is pretty clear:

Your Google Fiber account is for your use and the reasonable use of your guests. Unless you have a written agreement with Google Fiber permitting you do so, you should not host any type of server using your Google Fiber connection, use your Google Fiber account to provide a large number of people with Internet access, or use your Google Fiber account to provide commercial services to third parties (including, but not limited to, selling Internet access to third parties).

Google argued heavily for consumers when it was just on the side of providing content, but now it seems to be doing some delicate backtracking to avoid having to live by the rules they were arguing for to begin with.