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Google, Verizon Jointly Back 'Open Internet'

The search giant and wireless carrier find rare common ground on a few core net neutrality principles.

Internet companies and telecoms are often on opposite sides of the net neutrality debate, but search giant Google and Verizon Wireless have found some common ground on the issue.

As the Federal Communications Commission laid out its draft rules Thursday that would prevent network operators from favoring certain types of traffic over others, Google and Verizon said there are a few basic concepts that should be the foundation for future regulations.

The companies agree that "it's essential that the Internet remains an unrestricted and open platform." The top consideration should be that the end user has the final say about their Web experience, including choice over what hardware and software they use, the companies said in a joint statement.

"The Internet revolution has been people-powered from the very beginning, and should remain so," said a joint blog post from Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam and Google CEO Eric Schmidt. "The minute that anyone, whether from the government or the private sector, starts to control how people use the Internet, it is the beginning of the end of the Net as we know it."

Google and Verizon said the rules should also recognize that incentives for investments and innovation are important for future development of the Web. The companies also said the FCC should allow flexibility for future policy, and that certain aspects of the FCC's existing wireless broadband principles can be applied to the wireless market.

The companies went on to say that network operators should have the flexibility to manage their networks in order to address spam, malware, denial of service attacks, and other potential threats. The FCC appeared to agree with this sentiment, as its draft rules make exceptions for "reasonable network management" such as managing network congestion and blocking illegal content or illegal transfer of content.

This is the latest collaboration between the two companies. The wireless carrier and search giant also have plans to jointly create, market, and distribute products built around Google's Android mobile operating system. The first product of this relationship is expected to be a Motorola smartphone called Droid.

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