ANALYSIS — In 2007, when the Android OS was still vaporware, Google made a gutsy $4.6 billion bet on mobile net neutrality. While they never had to pay out the money, that all-in move forced the FCC to license wireless spectrum with binding rules that finally force the wireless carrier that wins a spectrum auction to let Americans use whatever handsets, services and apps they wanted to connect to it.
Verizon, which eventually outbid Google, howled with outrage and filed a lawsuit against those rules, which Google rightly derided as an “attempt to prevent consumers from having any choice of innovative services.”
Fast-forward to 2010.
The Wall Street Journal just reported that the Federal Communications Commission is holding "closed-door meetings" with industry to broker a deal on Net Neutrality -- the rule that lets users determine their own Internet experience.
Given that the corporations at the table all profit from gaining control over information, the outcome won't be pretty.
The meetings include a small group of industry lobbyists representing the likes of AT&T, Verizon, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, and Google. They reportedly met for two-and-a-half hours on Monday morning and will convene another meeting today. The goal according to insiders is to "reach consensus" on rules of the road for the Internet.
This is what a failed democracy looks like: After years of avid public support for Net Neutrality - involving millions of people from across the political spectrum - the federal regulator quietly huddles with industry lobbyists to eliminate basic protections and serve Wall Street's bottom line.