Not a good time to be a big, bad telecom with everyone targeting you. Watch AT&T and Verizon stock drop on Monday, while Clearwire jumps.
Seems there is widespread support to preserve the core net neutrality objective and ensure the unfettered access of content providers to the public. With the guidelines and monitoring that has been in place this issue seems to have been contained, or so it seemed.
Many of the newer agendas shoved under the net neutrality umbrella fall more in a preventative "competition leveling" category with the benefits and consequences much less clear while they are also more intrusive into the operational mechanics of network management.
One item the public needs to be very concerned about is that the new rules don't force the telecom industry back toward a price-per-minute or price-per-packet pricing model for data access. Even the IT industry would agree that the fixed-price, virtual all-you-can-eat pricing model was and is critical to the continued growth, popularity and utility of the net.
Yes, I agree with that what if analysis. However, when I think about who would push for that among political hacks of both parties, lobbyists aligned with industry groups or niche groups such as public safety, operators, third party VoIP.. who would gain from that either politically or financially?
I agree that operators should have the ability to shape the network but also that this should be open to participation that lines up, as a simplified explanation, being "equal access to equal aplications" to core end-to-end transport. Of course, that can get muddy real easy.. what I am trying to describe without much elegance is a that wireless networks should provide subscribers with low latency, low jitter service at a bandwidth level based on some reasonable formula expectation. Since there are fairly easily defined 'abusers' who can be held out of the way of harm through limits during peak hours, the real-time dependent services should be reasonably managed. Getting different groups and the FCC to agree on that is a big can of worms.
What I don't like to see is for IT, Internet search, ebanking/payments and all the other things folded into cloud 4G networks being excluded from participation due to arbitrary caps or targeted treatment. Understandably that goes beyond what many operatros may want but I don't think what operators want is naturally in the whole of ICT's best interests or the public and government sectors best interests... there is natural economic and societal conflicts on this issue.
If the Commission goes further than the original goal of ensuring content providers have unfettered access to the pipes and requires network operators treat all applications and IP packets equally, without prioritization and without traffic shaping it means commercial grade mobile VoIP may never happen for CLWR.
CLWR would be forever dependent upon Sprint or other incumbent PCS operators for a mobile voice service, and they'd have to plan on never having their own voice revenue.
And CLWR wouldn't be the only victim. The VoIP experience for everyone else could suffer as well.
Denied the ability to use traffic shaping to deliver an acceptable user experience virtually all carriers would eventually resort to using end-user pricing as a rationing mechanism for bandwidth control - hence higher prices to consumers. So instead of having unequal treatment today among some net based applications the inequality would be created would be among the "have's" and "have nots" that can afford to buy all the data services they want. This would create a new dimension to the same old economic-based digital divide we're already familiar with.
The mere thought of just some of the ramfications of where the FCC is allegedly headed has so many negatives and so many unintended consequences that the uproar and solidarity among operators and informed public could be unprecedented.
FCC Chairman will give a grand speech tomorrow with enough tough talk to satisfy the most activist government-knows-best consitutents, but by the time the industry pushback occurs and a rule actually developed it is likely to face multiple court challenges and if it survives at all it will eventually be cut down to a shadow of its original form.
By the time its finished we can only hope the FCC can at least accomplish the original net neutrality goal and ensure content providers have unfettered access to the public.
In that post I was talking more generally about the motivations of users versus operator groups.
Your post is very pertinent to issue: there is the need to more closely control the flow of data over the network no matter if you are coming from the 'open cloud environment' perspective or that of an incumbent operator. Of course, operators such as AT&T are among the world's largest provider of cloud services and thus must be responsive to enterprise class customers who want access to SaaS/NaaS and also have common APIs, assured QoS, and portability of applications that they develop/co-develop.
Uncontrolled PtP or other traffic can impact the common public access networks.
I personally don't think it makes sense for the FCC to influence the control over PtP or other except that applications should be open to competition: They should not be able to restrict access to alternative VoIP in cases similar to the iPhone.
Packet equality is something else: operators should be able to restrict, on a fair and equal application basis, use based on impact to the network... on the basis of QoS - because that is essential to developing robust networks that deliver the most benefit to the higher number of users. And I think that operaators should have a high degree of flexibility in how they determine rate plans: demand shaping policies that encourage through higher/lower charges or 'free' bandwidth during low usage periods for example. Some rather simple methods could be used, such as pre-fetching emails while network traffic is low.. devices with smart web browsers, off-peak downloads of often accessed information and syncing of files on mobile devices.. all of that should be fair game for operators and applications and web service providers to develop.
I don't profess to know what the FCC is now doing in much detail and will wait to see what they have to say and what rulings they may announce.
Aren't you talking about something similar to Apple vs Google Voice?
That's a company who is trying to control the application ecosystem of their devices. Your points apply to that problem.
Packet equality is something else. Web browsing and downloading torrents will both use TCP, with their application protocol layered on top of that. Current ISPs, including clearwire, will inspect those TCP packets to figure out what applications it is being used for (which is 2-3 layers above their "responsibility"). They can then block out or slow down to a crawl any use of their network that they don't like, such as P2P. All of this I think is fair game especially in an environment will limited resources (that's their excuse as well). The problem some people have is they would use it to also block ( or render unusable) applications that won't negatively impact other users, such as VoIP. Mobile operators would benefit from this as they make so much money from their voice services.
What those people do not take into account however, is that mobile operators do not have to explicitly block voip to render it useless. They just have to not-support it. The natural latency and jitter of wireless networks combined with even normal load would make the quality of the voice call unacceptable.
At the extreme, if all packets are declared equal, and users are free to use whatever bandwidth hogging applications anytime they want, which service do you think will be hit hardest:
Clearwire with unlimited data plan mostly from desktops and laptops, or an incumbent operator with mostly mobile phone users and 5GB data cap/month?
The basic 'clash of the titans' concept is between the IT industry perspective and the operator owned and operated network perspective. The future of communications, 4G and beyond, as seen by ITU and others who have formulated what is likely to evolve and what is desired from both an industry and a societal perspective is for communications to be ICT, not mobile and not IT communications. ICT stands for Information and Communication Technologies and can best be viewed as the cloud of inter-networks.
From the IT perspective, corporations, governments and individuals want a high degree of control over THEIR computing network and applications. That does not mean you have to own everything, in fact the model is moving more towards SaaS. But users want to be able to make decisions that suit their needs and strategic objectives: sometimes organizations or individuals want to buy hardware and software even if it might make more sense to buy that as a service available over a broadband connection. People want control. And innovation is more fluidly enthused when is unleashed in an open environment.
Wireless operators want to own the network and an increasing part of the applications environment as wireless has become mobile. The mobile industry makes money selling access to wireless communications pipes and applications and extended services that they control or control through surrogates under binding agreements. They want to own the apparatus the brings new creativity to the network.. open but they still want to be the gatekeepers.
"Users want everything for nothing" Users always want 'unobtainium' - borrowing from the aerospace industry - the perfect product/material that has no wieght, not cost, and does a miraculous job.
Companies want to sell you something: operators want your money.. no surprise in that. And they are faced with the diilema that if they give users what they are accustomed to in the IT/Internet environment that the user will find better, cheaper, more tailored or just 'cooler' (herd mentality) ways to satisfy their needs... they face loss of control over revenues.
Its the money honey... everyone wants it. But as the US economy has found, you have to create value over the long run. The world, the macro economy, the micro economy has to be competitive. The garden walls have to come down and they are.
Operators should provide access to users of networks that are not bottle-knecks to the ICT vision.
Big Telecom has an inherent advantage, particularly during times when the economy has become a grand ponzi scheme and must come down to the reality of supply and demand: they have huge cash flows.
The government should only go so far as to require that all similar apps have access to like services imo. Freedom to innovate should be maintained in fair compromise between operators and applications and users.
Anyway, we will see what the FCC determines and how the various parts of the ICT industry reacts.
In a environment where all IP packets are required to be treated equal in all respects, CLWR may never be able to offer commercial grade mobile VoIP. That helps them how?
Reality is, the FCC doesn't yet know how to implement this plan.
Last I checked, the powers to be within the FCC and more importantly the Obama Administration have voiced their preferences for massive wireless broadband expansion. I'm afraid Merlot you are backing the wrong horse again, because our new President wants to see small companies like Clerwire to succeed.
Just do a lttle research on the FCC panel, and you'll find out Wimax is in their blood.