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Summary:

Several grassroots organizations are planning a protest at noon tomorrow at Google’s Mountain View campus. The groups plan to protest because the search giant has teamed up with Verizon to offer a compromise on net neutrality that has the potential to create a two-tiered Internet.

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Several grassroots organizations dedicated to network neutrality are planning a protest at noon tomorrow on Google’s Mountain View, Calif. campus. The groups include MoveOn, Color of Change, Creedo Action and the Free Press, who plan to protest at the search giant because it has teamed up with Verizon to put forth a legislative framework that has the potential to create a two-tiered Internet by allowing ISPs to discriminate against web traffic on wireless networks while also carving out special exceptions for advanced network services.

Protest organizers will be chartering a bus or two from San Francisco to carry people down to Mountain View, and Derek Turner of the Free Press says the organizers expect around 60-120 people as of now. Protesters will have signs with phases such as “Save the Internet,” and “Google, Don’t Be Evil.” Despite its ongoing efforts to avoid being evil, Google has been the targets of protests before, back when it offered censored search in China. The backlash over Google’s agreement with Verizon has been immense, with the media, analysts and netizens decrying its capitulation. However, as my colleague Mathew noted yesterday, Google is a grown-up business now, and it may have to leave its days of rabble-rousing behind. Which means that its campus may have to entertain the occasional protest.

Related GigaOM Pro Content (sub req’d): The New Net-Neutrality Debate: What’s the Best Way to Discriminate?

  1. Today’s worldwide bandwidth usage:

    33% Bittorrent
    33% Youtube
    33% everything else on the web

    Google TV is coming out very soon, it will increase Youtube share of bandwidth usage above 50% of worldwide usage. With the possibility that millions of users of Google TV will be streaming Youtube in 720p, 1080p and even Quad-HD (as Quad-HD screen costs only $20 more to producce than 1080p, it’s just using a newer chip). Youtube share of worldwide bandwidth may even increase to soon cover 80% or 90% amazingly of worldwide bandwidth!

    That is of course depending on how much higher quality contents come to Youtube as more viewers watch higher quality video on it, as overlay and targetted ads on Youtube keep bringing in more and more revenue to content providers.

    The issue here, Google needs to make sure 1080p 4mbit/s and above Youtube streaming never is blocked from ADSL, Cable, Fiber connections around the world. Just like Comcast and a few other ISPs block BitTorrent traffic because just two years ago, BitTorrent represented more than 50% of worldwide bandwidth usage.

    As for Net Neutrality on wireless, I believe Eric Schmidt said clearly that they want regulation to deal with that. Especially, we need VOIP like Google Voice, Skype, SIP to not be blocked at all on wireless networks.

    Your idea of varying pricing per bandwidth depending on network congestion, I think it does make sense. But most importantly, carriers have to provide bandwidth wirelesly in a fair and regulated way.

    Anyways, I think Google is planning for White Spaces to come out of that trojan horse, as soon enough, $100 Android phones could then include free unlimited wireless broadband and unlimited VOIP and IMs, as White Spaces can be deployed using the FON.com model, installing a few thousands $15 White Spaces routers per city, that people connect to their existing home ADSL and Cable connections (with Net Neutrality disallowing the blockage of this type of usage), to completely cover it with free White Spaces for everyone.

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    1. Yes bandwidth is a problem with the addition of video. The question is do we create a separate network to allow these service to be uninterrupted, the only thing we do is sacrifice what is called an open internet. Basically this new internet would cater to big corporations. Leaving the small guy left behind and harder to compete. The same open internet that Google succeeded on. Now that we have supported their don’t be evil mantra, they have turned their backs on us.

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      1. Not true. It doesn’t really matter who hosts the videos and how those are delivered. The small guys aren’t startups competing with Youtube, the small guys that matter here are the small content creators, those that produce HD video content and want to distribute it to all HDTVs through the Internet. What Google needs to make sure is that once they power 90% of all bandwidth usage through controlling Youtube that will increase in size 10 times every year as people watch more and more web video content on their HDTV instead of normal Satellite and Cable contents, people watch 5 hours of it each day.

        The big political issue here is that politics are governed by TV channels, they set the topics, they command the public opinion. Once more choices for video reach all consumers through cheap $99 Google TV set-top-boxes, that could change election results, that could influence presidents.

        ISPs could decide to block access to Youtube tomorrow, or to slow it down. Just as they are blocking BitTorrent. That would be terrible for the small guys. This is why, Google has been building server parks as close to ISP centrals as possible and they just have to make sure that Youtube doesn’t get blocked.

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      2. Thus, if building an extended Youtube caching server at each major backbone central of each major ISP costs a certain amount of money, then sure it’s Google who will have to invest in that bandwidth expansion infrastructure. But in no way should ISPs be able to decide that Google may not improve bandwidth conditions for all the users on the ISP and in no way should Google or anyone else providing HD video streaming get any preferential treatement.

        If you think it’s enough to just host video from whichever server you want and expect that video to be deliverable at full speed to any user on any ISP, then you haven’t really understood how the modern internet works. There isn’t capacity to transfer billions of terrabytes a second on every fiber node, the servers have to be built as close to users as possible, that is the only way Google has been able to keep Youtube running all these years. Basically, Google has been building thousands of server parks caching Youtube video contents to as close to all the worlds major ISP backbones as possible.

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  2. [...] Google may have thrown its reputation under the bus with this whole effort, only to see Congress stand by and do nothing because of the coming mid-term [...]

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  3. Beware of any George Soros (MoveOn.org) affiliated activity. This guy is the epitome of evil. These organizations do not care about a free and open Internet. They want to see it placed under government control where their operatives can control and manipulate it. All of the groups involved are backed by special interests whose objective is to utilize the government to benefit their causes financially. Shame on GigaOm for publicizing this event.

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