NYT: “silence” from the likes of “Comcast and the News Corporation [on net neutrality] has been noticeable”

Claire Cain Miller and Brian Stelter have a must read piece in the New York Times about net neutrality in which they note the palpable silence from media companies like Comcast and Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

Barry Diller -- “who oversees Expedia, Ticketmaster, Match.com and other sites" – comes out swinging in the Times story against a proposed compromise by Google and Verizon calling the deal a “sham.”

More on that proposed deal can be found at Free Press.

As Media Matters has noted:

Right-wing media have falsely claimed that the Net neutrality principle supported by the Obama administration is an attempt by the government to control Internet content. In fact, net neutrality does not mean government control of content on the Internet; rather, net neutrality ensures equal and open access for consumers and producers of content and applications, and is supported by a wide array of groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Christian Coalition of America.

Perhaps no one in the national media has done more to muddy the issue of net neutrality than Glenn Beck, a News Crop employee:

More from the NYT after the jump.

Miller and Stelter write:

Most media companies have stayed mute on the subject, but in an interview this week, the media mogul Barry Diller called the proposal a sham.


The debate revolves around net neutrality, which in the broadest sense holds that Internet users should have equal access to all types of information online, and that companies offering Internet service should not be able to give priority to some sources or types of content.

In a policy statement on Monday, Google and Verizon proposed that regulators enforce those principles on wired connections but not on the wireless Internet. They also excluded something they called “additional, differentiated online services.”

In other words, on mobile phones or on special access lanes, carriers like Verizon and AT&T could charge content companies a toll for faster access to customers or, some analysts worry, block certain services from reaching customers altogether.

Opponents of the proposal say that the Internet, suddenly, would not be so open anymore.


That would be a big change from the level playing field that content companies now enjoy, Mr. Diller, who oversees Expedia, Ticketmaster, Match.com and other sites, said last month. Speaking of the telecommunications carriers, he said, “They want the equivalent of having the toaster pay for the ability to plug itself into the electrical grid.”


Josh Silver, chief executive of the nonprofit group Free Press, said the exemptions amounted to “the cable-ization of the Internet,” in that cable subscribers pay extra for premium tiers of service and for certain channels. Mr. Silver's group is promoting a petition to the F.C.C. titled “Don't Let Google Be Evil.” Silicon Valley investors have expressed trepidation that the new rules, if adopted, could put a damper on innovation, particularly for mobile start-ups.

The wireless Internet is quickly emerging as the dominant technology platform, said Matt Cohler, a general partner at Benchmark Capital, a prominent venture firm in Silicon Valley that has invested in start-ups like Twitter. “It is as important to have the right protections in place for the newer platform as it is for the older platform.”


The silence of big media companies like Comcast and the News Corporation on the issue has been noticeable. Media companies' traditional business models have been about controlled pathways to the customer, and they may see benefits in restoring some of that control.

Mr. Diller asserted that the Google-Verizon proposal “doesn't preserve 'net neutrality,' full stop, or anything like it.” Asked if other media executives were staying quiet because they stand to gain from a less open Internet, he said simply, “Yes.”