The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) net-neutrality discussions involving industry stakeholders are going to end without a deal, agency Chief of Staff Edward Lazarus said on Thursday.
"We have called off this round of stakeholder discussions," he said. "It has been productive on several fronts, but has not generated a robust framework to preserve the openness and freedom of the Internet – one that drives innovation, investment, free speech and consumer choice. All options remain on the table as we continue to seek broad input on this vital issue."
The stakeholders, which included AT&T, Verizon, NCTA, Google, Skype and the Open Internet Coalition, had planned to continue meeting in the week ahead.
The discussions had seemed to be picking up steam, including a marathon meeting on Saturday. On Wednesday it came to light that Google and Verizon have been working on their own net-neutrality deal, and it seems possible that this shook the progress of the discussions.
AT&T immediately distanced itself from the two companies' agreement, and public interest groups blasted the companies for undermining public processes.
In response to questions about the Verizon-Google pact in at the FCC open meeting on Thursday, Chairman Julius Genachowski sounded unimpressed by the private efforts.
"Any outcome, any deal that doesn't preserve the freedom and openness of the Internet for consumers and entrepreneurs will be unacceptable."