Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Google outlines their stance on net neutrality

The Official Google Blog has posted a response to an article in The Wall Street Journal that claimed Google was trying to 'fast track' their access to the web, in contravention of the concept of 'net neutrality', whereby all providers have equal access to the web.

Google stresses that their support of net neutrality remains as strong as ever and the explanation of the moves reported by the WSJ were based on the reporter's apparent 'misunderstanding of the way in which the open Internet works'. The issue revolves around so-called 'edge caching' - which is designed to improve web performance through the temporary storage of data that is frequently accessed on servers that are located close to end users - and whether this violates the concept of network neutrality.

Google claims not and insist that their reasons for using this method are particularly for sites like YouTube that have high usage and bandwidth demands placed on popular videos that are regularly viewed. Google has offered to "colocate" caching servers within a number of broadband providers' own facilities to reduce the provider's bandwidth costs when the same video is transmitted multiple times. As part of the concept of net neutrality, Google says that broadband providers can engage in this type of activity so long as they do so on a non-discriminatory basis.

The original newspaper article has clearly raised the level of debate about these techniques which Google has quickly moved to explain and defend their position. The discussion is likely to now continue for some time.

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