A Different Kind of Internet?
Google Fiber is the company’s answer to America’s broadband mess. It offers what it calls “a different kind of Internet”: one with fast speeds and innovative services for an affordable price.1
But there’s one way that Google is exactly like all the other Internet service providers: Its terms of service prohibit customers from attaching any servers to its networks.2
As Wired pointed out, this means that individual users aren’t allowed to attach their own email servers. They aren’t allowed to attach servers that run Minecraft and other games. They aren’t allowed to attach “Freedom Boxes” that keep data private. They aren’t allowed to attach nanny cameras that keep watch over childcare providers. And they aren’t allowed to use peer-to-peer software like BitTorrent because it turns Macs and PCs into servers.
Google isn’t blocking all of these activities yet — but it reserves the right to do so.
Other ISPs like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon also ban servers on their networks. But Google is supposed to be different.
Google should follow through on its claim to provide a “different kind of Internet” by becoming a different kind of ISP. It should start by revising its terms of service to allow individual users to host servers on Google Fiber networks for personal use.
Google, don’t be evil. Don’t be AT&T. Let your users run their own servers on your network.
2. "Now That It’s in the Broadband Game, Google Flip-Flops on Network Neutrality," Wired, June 30, 2013: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/07/google-neutrality/