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How Can FCC Exempt Largest Internet Network from Network Neutrality Regulation? Oh its Google...

If the FCC's proposed Open Internet regulations turn out to be "fair" and "fact-based" as promised, the FCC won't be able to gerrymander a "network" definition that allows Google, -- the world's largest and fastest-growing Internet network per Arbor Networks' new study -- to escape from new FCC net neutrality regulation.

The facts that Google should be subject to any "fair" network neutrality regulations are overwhelming.

First, according to a just-announced Arbor Networks study, the single "largest study of global Internet traffic since the start of the commercial Internet," (involving the top 100+ ISPs, including Google)... 

  • Google was ranked the largest Internet Service Provider (ISP) in the world; "Google accounts for 6% of all Internet traffic globally." 
  • "Google traffic growth is by far the biggest of any Internet property."
  • Moreover, the Arbor Networks study also documents a huge transformation of the Internet: "Five years ago, Internet traffic was proportionately distributed across tens of thousands of enterprise managed websites and servers around the world. Today, most of the content is migrating to a small number of very large hosting, cloud and content providers..." like Google, YouTube, Facebook, Microsoft... 
    • This means that content/cloud Internet Service Providers are increasingly controlling the lions share of Internet traffic, not traditional transit providers, because of the "commodization of IP" and the "consolidation of content."     

Second, Google's voracious acquisitions of dark fiber infrastructure give Google control over one of the world's largest Internet backbones: see "Google's own Private Internet" and "Google's Internet Plan."

Third, Google is big into submarine cable infrastructure ownership, as it will be one of five owners of Unity a trans-Pacific submarine cable linking Tokyo and Los Angeles.

Fourth, Google is the dominant Internet network in several other dimensions:

  • Google is the world's dominant internet broadcaster, as the YouTube network broadcasts over one billlion views a day, and enjoys 40% Internet viewing share per Comscore, almost twenty times the size of #2, Microsoft's, 2.2% share. 
  • Google's search network share is 71% per Hitwise, over four times larger than #2 Yahoo.
  • Google's networks of advertisers, web publishers, and display advertising sites all comprise about 90% of their addressable global markets. 

Fifth, Google's content access network has been found by the U.S. Justice Department to have attempted to anti-competitively extend their market power in search advertising in a non-neutral manner twice in the last eleven months

  • DOJ blocked the Google-Yahoo ad Agreement as anti-competitive; and 
  • DOJ blocked the Google Book Settlement as anti-competitive.   

In sum, if the FCC is honestly trying to apply net neutrality rules fairly and based on facts in order to prevent the potential for anti-competitive behavior on the Internet over content...

  • surely the FCC will not gerrymander an ISP definition that excludes Google:
    • the world's largest ISP by Internet traffic,
    • the most dominant Internet player in several different Internet markets; and
    • the only Internet player to have been found to have acted anti-competitively by the DOJ twice in the last eleven months.

The "open" question is whether the FCC will investigate the facts to determine if Google is indeed a major Internet access network, or whether the FCC will just accept Google's completely non-transparent representations that they are just a "virtual" application provider and not a major "physical' Internet infrastucture provider that carries more Internet traffic than any other Internet entity in the world.