For the past decade, many Google aficionados have witnessed the phenomenal growth of this now giant corporation; astounded by the process.
For many today, there simply is no other search engine, and Google's annual revenues reflect this phenomena
Those who have held on to their IPO positions will now be able to weather any serious financial disaster for much longer than most. Who says you can't make money with the stock market?
At this juncture, and after only a decade of business development, the amazing Google finds itself teetering on the precipice of mega-capitalism, or the strategic alliance with other private communications companies, the target being the diversification---indeed the altering of the Internet to effect consumers financially, which necessarily restricts access.
Net neutrality. That term is bandied about by politicians, including Senator Al Franken who has said that this issue is the 'foremost free speech issue of our time.'
What does this mean to the average consumer? Generally, the consuming public has become accustomed to mergers and acquisition, and having no influence on the activity in any case, everyone simply adapts. At whatever cost.
Today, in certain communication niches, we pay to send text information back and forth to others, costing the excessive user a hefty monthly fee.
But just imagine if 'the telephone company' had not been broken up and divested through Federal government intervention. All the telephonic innovations would have been birthed by one entity.
Wonder what that marketplace might look like?
Perhaps vastly under-developed from current marketplaces, though some might argue the virtue of this, quicker progress toward more effective technologies would have dramatically slowed down.
Indeed, the public would likely not be able to buy a recent 'app' for the I-Phone which actually pops popcorn. Really.
But this is intended to be a piece presenting a favorable argument for free markets and product development, and the betterment of our society through more effective technology. So, it would seem.
Is it relevant, then, to consider the potential business alliance between Google and Verizon a dramatic example of the 'net neutrality' issue so vociferously argued by Senator Franken and countless other recognizable public figures?
And are we witnessing the evolution of an ostensibly 'always free' mode of communication, free in the sense that after traditional ISP expenses, most information (save classified) would remain available for public scrutiny at no further cost, only to become a mirror image of the television industry----tiers of available information---the more you want, the more you pay?
Well, is it an issue which can be legislated? Could the Supreme Court ultimately be required to render the matter into settled law?
But wait, we already have a government agency that is charged with such matters: The FCC.
Among their roughly twenty bureaus and offices, surely we can count on them to hold public meetings, and arrive at a just decision, keeping the best interests of the general public in mind. This keeps with the fundamental notion that the Internet was developed at taxpayer expense for the benefit of all citizens, which keeps Net Neutrality advocates in step with Franken's words:
“But telecommunications companies want to be able to set up a special high-speed lane just for the corporations that can pay for it. You won't know why the Internet retail behemoth loads faster than the mom-and-pop shop, but after a while you may get frustrated and do all of your shopping at the faster site. Maybe the gatekeepers will discriminate based on who pays them more. Maybe they will discriminate based on whose political point of view conforms to their bottom line.”
Indeed, a serious issue which needs considering and discussion by all.
And, who knows? Perhaps the FCC might even come out of this, looking like the exemplary, democratic watchdog they are charged with under the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
And in the House, Senator Markey has introduced legislation to amend the Communications act of 1934.
Specifically, it would become the ISP's "duty to not block, interfere with, discriminate against, impair or degrade the ability of any person to use an Internet access service to access, use, send, post, receive or offer any lawful content, application or service through the Internet."
However, since the substance of of this will likely be that the deal comes amidst closed-door meetings between the Federal Communications Commission and major telecom giants on crafting new regulations, the table will be set for obfuscation and mis-direction.
Once again, like so many other huge impact issues, this has the appearance a lot of wiggle room for lobbyist efforts to 'convince' legislators this bill would not be 'good for growth' and 'by the way, we transferred $50,000 to facilitate your campaign and everlasting loyalty.'
But, at last hope, there is always the axiom of 'first time for everything.'