Google, Verizon find some common ground

"For starters we both think it's essential that the Internet remains an unrestricted and open platform--where people can access any content (so long as it's legal), as well as the services and applications of their choice," the companies said.

"So, in conjunction with the Federal Communications Commission's national plan to bring broadband to all Americans, we understand its decision to start a debate about how best to protect and promote the openness of the Internet. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has promised a thoughtful, transparent decision-making process, and we look forward to taking part in the analysis and discussion that is to follow. We believe this kind of process can work, because as the two of us have debated these issues we have found a number of basic concepts to agree on."

The companies agree, for example, that open networks are essential for the future of the Web. They also agree that it makes sence for the FCC to make its existing principles more enforcable and implement them on a case-by-case basis, and that "flexibility in government policy is key."

They don't agree on everything, though, as the companies say toward the end of the statement.

"Doubtless, there will be disagreements along the way. While Verizon supports openness across its networks, it believes that there is no evidence of a problem today –- especially for wireless -- and no basis for new rules and that regulation in the US could have a detrimental effect globally. While Google supports light touch regulation, it believes that safeguards are needed to combat the incentives for carriers to pick winners and losers online."

The major point of the letter, it seems, is to show that the companies are willing to find common ground in the debate as a starting point for further discussion.