Consumers say Google/Verizon proposal "threatens" net neutrality

Consumers say Google/Verizon proposal "threatens" net neutrality

Verizon and Google have announced their joint policy proposal for the future of the “open internet”. However, according to some experts, the deal paves the way for “toll booths on the information highway” and will facilitate the “blocking of content on wireless platforms”.

Our analysis shows that consumer reaction to the proposal has been overwhelmingly negative. Despite Google and Verizon billing the proposal as one for “open internet”, consumers emphasise that both companies lack the legitimacy to form policy and argue that neither are to be trusted.
 
However, our data also highlights that well informed consumers are slightly more positive towards the proposal. WaveMetrix insight also shows that consumers are likely to single out Google as the major stakeholder in the deal. 
 
  • Google and Verizon have released a joint proposal detailing their vision for the future of the internet: Verizon, the US telecoms giant, and Google announced a joint policy proposal for “an open internet” on Monday
  • The deal leaves certain “loopholes” for wireless broadband: Although the deal makes clear that wired internet should remain open and free, the proposal leaves certain “loopholes” for wireless connections. This has the potential to allow certain parts of wireless traffic to be prioritised over others, and could lead to an end for free and open internet 
  • Experts have already reacted angrily to the proposal: According to experts, these loopholes will allow carriers to prioritise or even prevent certain wireless traffic, leading to an end to the free and open internet
Our analysis shows that consumers and general internet users have also reacted with extreme negativity towards the proposal:
 
Consumers say Google/Verizon proposal "threatens" net neutrality
  • Consumers do not think either company can be trusted to propose policy in this area: Internet users make clear that they do not believe either company can be trusted to make public spirited policy. Some say that the companies are “only out for themselves” and others add that “greedy corporate companies” cannot be expected to provide sound public policy. Nonetheless, a few consumers do argue that the proposal is “perfectly reasonable”, with one finding the public reaction “astounding”
  • Consumers do not see either company as having a legitimate claim to provide advice on policy: They argue that Google and Verizon “have no right” to govern the internet and many say that such a proposal is “not acceptable”. However, a few do argue that the companies have a right to “their say” on the matter
  • Internet users want the telecoms industry to be more closely regulated: Consumers argue that this proposal makes it clear that large companies need “policing”. They say a public body like the Federal Communications Commission is required to keep the internet “neutral” and “fair”
  • Some consumers add that the proposal makes clear the “evil” intentions of Google: They say that Google’s “do no evil” motto has been “compromised”, with a few saying that Google is turning into “a monster” 
Our analysis also shows that the backlash from well informed consumers was less severe:
 

Consumers say Google/Verizon proposal "threatens" net neutrality

  • Some more well informed consumers reacted positively to the proposal: While consumer attitudes towards the deal were very negative, some consumers who indicated a more in depth knowledge within the field said the proposal was “reasonable” and a “step forward”. This implies the wide media coverage has led some less informed consumers to criticise the proposal without fully informing themselves of its contents
WaveMetrix data shows that consumers focus on Google more than Verizon:
 
Consumers say Google/Verizon proposal "threatens" net neutrality
  • Consumers tend to single out Google: Where consumers single out a single company, rather than talking about both, they tend to focus on Google. This suggests the backlash following the proposal will reflect more heavily on Google, especially following their famous “do no evil” ethic

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