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"Open" Internet = benefit without cost for "Piggy-backer" Google

As the lead bankroller of the "open Internet" slogan that the FCC now proposes to adopt as new U.S. policy without Congressional authorization, Google knows what an "open Internet" is supposed to mean: Google gets the benefits of the Internet without its costs. 

  • Google's lead FCC lobbyist, Mr. Whitt candidly explained Google's expected benefit-without-cost relationship today to NPR Online: "Google Voice "piggybacks on top of your existing phone connections."
    • Thus "openness" means Google "piggybacks" network operators as a free-rider, while network operators alone must expend the effort and cost to maintain and grow Google's world-largest distribution network -- as the largest-ever video broadcaster, and the Internet's self-appointed collector of all the world's information. 
    • Thus an open Internet and network neutrality means that networks must subsidize Google's "innovation" by paying for the distribution of all Google's products and services at minimal cost to Google.     
  • Mr. Whitt's "piggyback" metaphor appears to have been a freudian slip, because it is a bay window into how Google does not view networks as vendors or business partners, but as beasts-of-burden that obediently carry their master's increasingly-weighty applications without complaint or cost.        

Google's recent response to the FCC over why its OK for Google Voice to block calls and violate net neutrality, is that Google shouldn't be expected to shoulder any of the underlying costs involved in providing voice services to users. In short, Google rides it doesn't carry. 

  • As Randall Stross' column in the Sunday New York Times explained for Google, Google Voice is being charged high termination fees from rural telcos and that is unacceptable because Google is always supposed to be the arbitrageur and not the arbitragee. 
    • How dare rural telco's charge Google the same high rates they charge everyone else!
    • That can't be "open." 
    • Don't they know Google has friends in very high places that won't take kindly to Google being charged the going rate by a... rural phone company?
    • An "open Internet" as defined by Google means Google doesn't have to pay anybody anything because expecting payment for services rendered has been re-defined to mean "discriminatory" and not "neutral" or "open."    

For those who have not yet been indoctrinated into what an "open Internet" is supposed to mean for Google Voice -- here's Google's breakdown of the benefit-cost equation.   

  • Benefits -- go to Google:
    • Google Voice controls the customer, provides the value-added services for free, and Google gets to search and keep copies of all the voicemails, private information, and voiceprints for any purposes Google decides.
    • Google gets all the credit, publicity and goodwill from the user and the media for delivering everything.
  • Costs -- go to others:
    • "Others" pay for the cost of investing, building, upgrading, and operating the physical networks that carry all of Google Voice's calls.
    • Others pay for the hundreds of thousands of jobs required to make the networks work for Google Voice.
    • Others pay for the customer service involved in providing voice services, since Google has no one to call or email to address individual problems with Google Voice. 
    • Others pay for the bandwidth required to make it all work for Google.


FYI -- for anyone that missed that Google mistakenly released information in its Google Voice letter to the FCC that it meant to keep redacted. The redacted information was discovered and posted in a comment to a TechCrunch story:

  • "Looks like the “confidential” text wasn’t very confidential — just white.

    First chunk: “Currently, Google Voice has approximately 1.419 million users, with approximately 570,000 seven-day active users.”

    Second chunk: “Level3 Communications, Inc., for U.S. telephone numbers, inbound termination to those numbers, and outbound termination; GlobalCrossing LTD, for U.S. telephone numbers, inbound termination to those numbers, and outbound termination; Broadvox Communications, Inc., forU. S. telephone numbers, inbound termination to those numbers, and outbound termination; CLEC, Inc., for U.S. telephone numbers, inbound termination to those numbers, and outbound termination; PacWestTelecom, Inc., forU. S. telephone numbers, inbound termination to those numbers, and outbound termination; iBasis, Inc., for outbound termination; Neustar, Inc., for porting services and carrier look-up services; and Syniverse Technologies, Inc., for SMS related services. We also contract with a number of international service providers for inputs for GoogleVoice; however none of the contracted services have yet to be launched and as such the services to be provided by these international partners have yet to be implemented.”

Translation: Apparently, if Google contracts for other companies to act as phone companies on Google's behalf in order to make Google Voice work, that doesn't mean Google operates like a phone company or competes with phone companies...

  • Openness must mean never having to say you're sorry...