In a dramatic about-face on a key internet issue yesterday, Google told the FCC that the network neutrality rules Google once championed don’t give citizens the right to run servers on their home broadband connections, and that the Google Fiber network is perfectly within its rights to prohibit customers from attaching the legal devices of their choice to its network.
Disappointed? Yes. Surprised? Only a little.
What's especially unfortunate is what's blocked, unnecessarily:
Moreover, the net neutrality rules (pdf) regarding devices are plain and simple: ”Fixed broadband providers may not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.”
But Google’s legally binding Terms of Service outlaw Google Fiber customers from running their own mail server, using a remotely accessible media server, SSHing into a home computer from work to retrieve files, running a Minecraft server for friends to share, using a Nest thermometer, using a nanny camera to watch over a childcare provider or using a Raspberry Pi to host a WordPress blog.
None of those devices would do any harm to any broadband network, let alone a Google Fiber connection with a 1Gbps capacity equally split between uploading and downloading.