Under net neutrality, or open Internet, rules, broadband providers would be prohibited from selectively blocking or slowing Web traffic.
"The original architects of the Internet got the big things right," said Alan Davidson, Google's director of public policy, and Tom Tauke, Verizon's executive vice president of public affairs, policy, and communications, in a blog post. "By making the network open, they enabled the greatest exchange of ideas in history. By making the Internet scalable, they enabled explosive innovation in the infrastructure."
The proposal is an effort to "find ways to protect the future openness of the Internet and encourage the rapid deployment of broadband," Davidson and Tauke wrote.
Public Knowledge and Free Press, two digital rights groups pushing for formal net neutrality rules at the FCC, ripped the proposal, saying it does not go far enough to protect an open Internet.
"The agreement between Verizon and Google about how to manage Internet traffic is nothing more than a private agreement between two corporate behemoths, and should not be a template or basis for either Congressional or FCC action," Gigi Sohn, president of Public Knowledge, said in a statement. "It is unenforceable, and does almost nothing to preserve an open Internet."
The proposal would allow wireless broadband providers to lock any application, content or service so long as they told consumers they were doing so," Sohn added.
Sohn and Free Press political adviser Joel Kelsey both complained that the agreement would allow broadband providers to offer managed services exempt from net neutrality rules.
"It is conceivable under the agreement that a network provider could devote 90 percent of its broadband capacity to these priority services and 10 percent to the best efforts Internet," Sohn said. "If managed services are allowed to cannibalize the best efforts Internet, whatever protections are agreed to for the latter become, for all intents and purposes, meaningless."
The agreement is "much worse" than a business arrangement between the two companies, as was rumored, Kelsey added.
"Google and Verizon can try all they want to disguise this deal as a reasonable path forward, but the simple fact is this framework, if embraced by Congress and the Federal Communications Commission, would transform the free and open Internet into a closed platform like cable television," he said. "It's a signed-sealed-and-delivered policy framework that blesses the carving up of the Internet for the few deep-pocketed Internet companies and carriers."