Was It Google And Verizon Or The FCC That Just Screwed Us On Mobile Net Neutrality?

We’ve already covered the FCC Net Neutrality vote earlier today, but something new has come to light. Something that’s very odd. Something that’s quite frankly a little terrifying.

Engadget dug up the FCC’s release [PDF] and found the following nugget buried in the all-important section “Measured Steps for Mobile Broadband”:

Further, we recognize that there have been meaningful recent moves toward openness, including the introduction of open operating systems like Android.  In addition, we anticipate soon seeing the effects on the market of the openness conditions we imposed on mobile providers that operate on upper 700 MHz C-Block spectrum, which includes Verizon Wireless, one of the largest mobile wireless carriers in the U.S.

In light of these considerations, we conclude it is appropriate to take measured steps at this time to protect the openness of the Internet when accessed through mobile broadband

While that may read like it’s a statement from Google or Verizon — actually, the entire section reads a lot like their joint proposal — it’s actually the FCC’s statement. Yes, that’s the FCC citing Android’s openness as a reason why they don’t need to impose net neutrality rules for mobile broadband.

Except wait. What the hell does an open operating system have anything to do with network access? Nilay Patel wonders this. John Gruber wonders this. Everyone should wonder this. It really does almost read as if they just copied what Google and Verizon laid out and forgot to remove the self-promotion.

As Patel writes:

… if we were slightly more paranoid, we’d be pretty sure there’s a link between the FCC’s Android mention and the combined furious lobbying of Google and Verizon.

I am slightly more paranoid. What the hell is Android doing in that statement?

I’ve made my thoughts on Android’s “openness” very clear. So have others. I believe the carriers are taking advantage of it and will continue to do so to the detriment of consumers. Now the FCC is using the “openness” label to screw us on net neutrality? Great.

Why doesn’t the FCC just say something like: “We just attended this great Google conference and heard that Android was open. Therefore, we see no need to regulate mobile broadband. It’s open, you see. That’s good for everyone. That means that everyone is going to do the right thing. An open operating system ensures there won’t be any throttling or filtering. Why? Because. Well. Open! Verizon agrees.”

It was only a month ago that FCC head Julius Genachowski said that the Verizon/Google proposal “slowed down” the process of coming up with a net neutrality proposal. Apparently, that’s because they had to rewrite the thing to include exactly what Verizon and Google agreed upon.

And now you see the danger of Google backtracking and screwing us in this regard. It seems greed, for lack of a better word, was just too good.