Google denied Thursday a report in the New York Times that it was near an agreement with Verizon over Net neutrality that could lead to Google paying Verizon for preferred service.
Several reports have emerged over the last couple of days that Google and Verizon are in discussions over the best way to resolve an impasse over the concept of Net neutrality, the notion that all Internet traffic be treated the same when it comes to passage over broadband networks such as Verizon. Verizon and other network providers would like to charge some companies premium pricing to deliver their content faster to Internet users, a proposal opposed by Google and consumer advocates who fear such a system would lead to higher prices and tighter control over the Internet.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt did not deny reports that Google and Verizon were in talks over the issues during a press event on Wednesday, but Google's public policy team posted a message to its Twitter account Thursday morning denying a specific portion of a Times report that Google has talked to Verizon about paying for premium treatment of its traffic. "@NYTimes is wrong. We've not had any convos with VZN about paying for carriage of our traffic. We remain committed to an open internet," Google said in the message.
For its part, Verizon also said the Times report was wrong but didn't get into specifics. "The NYT article regarding conversations between Google and Verizon is mistaken," Verizon said in a blog post Thursday. "It fundamentally misunderstands our purpose. As we said in our earlier FCC filing, our goal is an Internet policy framework that ensures openness and accountability, and incorporates specific FCC authority, while maintaining investment and innovation. To suggest this is a business arrangement between our companies is entirely incorrect."
A separate report from Bloomberg that Google and Verizon have agreed to keep Net neutrality in place on wired broadband networks but not on wireless networks has yet to receive a similar rebuttal. A call to Google requesting clarification was not immediately returned.
The Federal Communications Commission is trying to referee the Net neutrality dispute between broadband providers and Internet companies through an ongoing series of talks over the issue, but it seems Google and Verizon are taking matters into their hands. The two companies are close partners in the mobile world, with Verizon carrying many handsets made by Google's Android partners.