WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Google Inc and Verizon Communications Inc said they support “minimal” Internet regulation and “reasonable” network management as regulators weigh open Internet rules.
In a filing submitted late on Thursday to the Federal Communications Commission, both companies, seemingly strange bedfellows, acted jointly for the second time since posting a joint blog in October.
“While we do not agree on every issue, we do agree as a matter of policy that this framework of minimal government involvement should continue going forward,” Google and Verizon wrote in a joint comment on the FCC’s Net neutrality proposal.
They said they also support a carefully-defined “reasonable network management” exception so broadband providers have the flexibility to deal with genuine congestion issues and protect against malware and spamming.
In October, the FCC formally issued the open Internet proposal that has pit content providers such as Google and eBay Inc against Verizon, AT&T Inc and Comcast Corp.
Backers, including public interest groups, say Internet service providers must be barred from blocking or slowing traffic and new rules should be applied to wireless networks.
But broadband providers argue that the increasing volume of bandwidth-hogging services, such as video sharing, requires active management of their networks.
Wireless carriers, including Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint Nextel Corp and Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile said they oppose applying net neutrality rules to their networks because new rules could stifle innovation.
The deadline for public comments was Thursday and many companies waited until before midnight to file electronically with the regulatory agency.
Companies may be asked to send additional replies to the FCC if regulators want more information from them.
The FCC may not act on a final rule proposal until spring, which is when a U.S. appeals court could issue a ruling on whether the FCC has the authority to act on broadband network management issues.
Reporting by John Poirier; editing by Andre Grenon