Despite very strong denials last week from Google and Verizon that they were not discussing ways around Net Neutrality, Google and Verizon held a conference today to announce their agreement to the establishment of price-tiered network services, dividing the current Internet into a "neutral public Internet" that remains "open" (and which preserves access to YouTube and other Google properties), and a set of paid, priority channels that Verizon and other telecoms can use to deliver certain other types of content at higher prices, particularly over cell networks and whatever future infrastructure the Internet will be carried over.
We're only two weeks into the year, but net neutrality issues hit the ground running. The FCC already has three different inquiries open. (also) (previously) The 700 Mhz auction threatens to disrupt an already converging telecom industry. AT&T's post-merger commitment to net neutrality ends this year, and they plan to test the filtering waters, despite recently opposing the practice. And today, a leaked memo revealed that Time Warner will test tiered internet services soon. The Internet as we know it, and communications in general, might be headed for some major changes in 2008.