Jan 18, 2022

Google Unveils Plan To Reveal Internet Blockers

Published Feb 1, 2009, 1:31pm
Google Plan To Reveal Net Blockers

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Google Unveils Plan To Reveal Internet Blockers

Google Unveils Plan To Reveal Internet Blockers

On Wednesday, Google Inc announced a plan to allow Internet users to determine whether providers are intentionally slowing their network.

Google’s plan is the latest move in a debate over network neutrality between companies like Google and Internet service providers.

Companies fear that ISPs will discriminate against some corporations by slowing their networks.  Internet service providers argue that they need the ability to manage growing traffic on their networks.

According to Vint Cerf, Google’s chief Internet expert, the company will provide researchers with 36 servers in 12 locations in the United States and Europe to examine data.

"When an Internet application doesn't work as expected or your connection seems flaky, how can you tell whether there is a problem caused by your broadband ISP, the application, your PC, or something else?" said Cerf in a recent blog post.

According to Cerf, Google hopes to uncover problems for users with the plan.

Cerf, who is sometimes referred to as the “father of the Internet,” is largely known for his work in the 1970s and 1980s designing the Internet protocol for the U.S. government.

Last year, the five-member Federal Communications Commission chose to side with a complaint accusing Comcast of blocking file-sharing services, thus violating the FCC’s open-Internet policies.

The case set a precedent in the Net neutrality debate, although Comcast is fighting to overturn the ruling.

On Wednesday another cable company, Cox Communications, said it would begin testing its plan to prioritize time-sensitive traffic, such as streaming videos.

Traffic considered less time-sensitive, such as file uploads, could see delays when the plan is implemented.

The company said it will not discriminate, but Net neutrality supporters remain leery.

"The lesson we learned from the Comcast case is that we must be skeptical of any practice that comes between users and the Internet," said Ben Scott, of the Free Press advocacy group.

Researchers are already monitoring connection speed to determine if ISPs are blocking access to users.  Google’s plan will expand upon existing efforts by these researchers.

"The goal is to let consumers see what's under the hood of their Internet connection," said Sascha Meinrath, of the New America Foundation, a think tank that includes Google CEO Eric Schmidt. "Right now it's very difficult now to make an informed consumer choice."

According to Derek Slater, policy analyst for Google, the company has a business interest in helping users have a fast and efficient online experience.

"Our ability to innovate still depends on end users being able to use their broadband connections to access Google. To the extent that consumers are having problems doing that, that can directly hurt Google,” Slater told Reuters News.


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