Why is Google worried about Verizon?

Is Google worried that Verizon’s version of an “open network” isn’t quite what people think it will be? Techcrunch reports that Google is so worried that Verizon will find a loophole in the open network rules that it Google filed a petition with the FCC last week asking the FCC to preemptively enforce the rules on Verizon.

Under the 700 MHz rules, Verizon can block any device or application it deems to have a negative impact on the performance of its network. Susan Crawford, an expert in telecommunications law, says:

“This petition appears to be designed to smoke out the truth: did the Commission draft these conditions so loosely (”regulatory requirements”) that VZ’s reading is tenable? Or is VZ simply playing fast and loose, hoping that it will be too difficult for any single actor to challenge it, given the Commission’s comfort with ambiguity? Or were the rules actually designed to be unambiguous?”

“My own opinion is that VZ will do anything it can to retain discretion over use of its networks, both wired and wireless, and that there likely is at this moment a strongly-held belief inside that company that no reasonable regulator could possibly require VZ to operate an “open platform.”

Read more on Susan’s blog.