Google, Verizon Talk About Potential For A ‘Differentiated’ Internet

In an effort to put to rest reports in the NYTimes last week that they are collaborating on pay tiers for the internet, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) issued a manifesto today on ways to keep the internet open.

The thorniest of the seven principles was the fifth, which proposes to allow broadband providers to offer “differentiated online services,” meaning “that broadband providers can work with other players to develop new services.” On the conference call held by the two companies, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg provided an example: What if the Opera wanted to stream all of its performances in 3D to users in the home. They may not want to use the public internet to ensure a certain level of quality, he explained.

Other examples were health-care monitoring, the smart grid, advanced educational services, or new entertainment and gaming options. “Our proposal also includes safeguards to ensure that such online services must be distinguishable from traditional broadband Internet access services and are not designed to circumvent the rules.” To ensure the system is not abused, the FCC could monitor the development of these services “to make sure they don