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Daily Debrief: Google's one-step, two-step over Net neutralityGoogle reaffirmed its stance on Net neutrality but amplified on its intention to "co-locate" caching servers within broadband providers' facilities. On the CNET News Daily Debrief, Charles Cooper and Declan McCullagh explain the lingering ambiguity that...
[ Music ] >> Is Google backing away from net neutrality. The Wall Street Journal says yes, Google says, well, not so fast. Welcome to CNET News Daily Debrief, I'm Charlie Cooper here with my colleague, CNET New's very own Declan McCullagh. And if I may quote from your story today, neutrality, it's a little bit like obscenity. You know it when you see it, but there's apparently some ambiguity here. >> It's difficult to define. >> What's going on with this latest curfuffle [Phonetic]. >> Well, the Journal in a story on Monday's edition says that Google is -- let's quote exactly -- approached major cable and phone companies with a proposal to create a fast-lane for its own content. And Google responded yesterday evening, even before this actually hit the streets, saying no, all we're doing is going to try to put some servers in the network centers for, say, Comcast, et cetera, so we can cache content faster, it benefits everyone, including the broad band providers. >> And Google's long-standing position has been that Internet traffic should be treated equally. >> Exactly. So this is part -- part of the problem. Net neutrality is a vague concept, sure, we can all agree blocks sites is bad. But when it comes down to more -- the stuff that's in the gray area, it becomes kind of difficult. Let's look at a Google blog post from February, 2008. It said some major broad band service providers are threatened to act as gatekeepers playing favorites with certainly content providers. What they're describing is essentially what they want to do now. They want to play favorites with certain content providers, that is YouTube, a Google property. So then those properties can have much better, much faster connections with AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast. >> Well they were centralized -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Will they be just centralizing the caching? >> I -- if I were -- I'm planning this and the articles are pretty vague, you've put it in every major data center. >> Let's talk about the politics of it. Net neutrality is by largely supported by Democrats in congress. A new administration is coming in, a new congress is coming in. What's the likelihood that you'll see a bill passed one way or the other. >> The best answer is it probably depends on the outcome of the Comcast appeal of the FCC, really. The FCC slept on Comcast on net neutrality grounds saying you can't [Inaudible] Comcast says you don't have the authority to do that. It's before a federal appeals court in Washington D. C.. And if the appeals court says actually Comcast, sorry, you lose, the FCC has all the power it needs. Then that takes away some -- takes some of the winds out of the sails for the net neutrality crowd. But if it goes the other way then I can see congress moving pretty swiftly an Obama administration FCC, staff by Obama appointees egging him on. >> And Google has lobbied on behalf of passing some kind of legislation in a new session. >> To be fair to Google, they have not been as vocal about it recently. Maybe it's because the FCC has stepped in, maybe it's because they're fighting a lot of other Washington battles. But their official position was and is we want net neutrality legislation, regulation, something to keep broad band providers in line. >> And Eric Schmidt, the CEO, is an advisor to the Obama campaign, or had been -- now we can say the Obama in-coming administration. >> Yeah, there's a close relationship. At least ideologically there. >> Cool. Thanks [Inaudible] -- on behalf of CNET News, I'm Charlie Cooper.