Google Plan With Verizon Disillusions Some Allies

Jim Wilson/The New York Times

By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER and MIGUEL HELFT

SAN FRANCISCO — On Friday at lunchtime, as Google employees dined al fresco, a hundred protesters descended on the company’s Silicon Valley campus. A group called the Raging Grannies sang a song called “The Battle Hymn for the Internet,” and others carried signs reading, “Google is evil if the price is right.”

They were there to complain about what they saw as Google’s about-face on how Internet access should be regulated and to deliver a petition with about 300,000 signatures.

Several of the groups at the protest, like MoveOn.org and Free Press, once saw Google as their top corporate ally in the fight for net neutrality — the principle that the Internet should be a level playing field, with all applications and services treated equally.

But a week ago, Google stunned many of its allies by crossing the aisle and teaming up with Verizon Communications to propose that net neutrality rules should not apply to wireless access and to outline rules for the wired Internet that critics say are riddled with loopholes.

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