SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Simon Dudley
SHARE



Simon Dudley | July 24, 2014 |

 
   

The Potholes in Net Neutrality's Fast and Slow Lanes

The Potholes in Net Neutrality's Fast and Slow Lanes It's a simple problem to understand, really. Less capacity across networks means less use of technology that demands that capacity.

It's a simple problem to understand, really. Less capacity across networks means less use of technology that demands that capacity.

The FCC's comment deadline on Net Neutrality wrapped up on July 18, with a deadline of September 10 for responses. If you're interested at all in technology innovation, this controversial topic demands your attention.

Let's be clear: This isn't about "fast lanes" and "slow lanes" on the Internet. Net neutrality opponents could throw some real potholes in the way of effective video conferencing, unified communications and collaboration. They're doing that by throwing money at redefining an open Internet.

A report by the Sunlight Foundation showed that from 2005-2013, opponents of net neutrality consistently outspent supporters. From 2012-2013, the deepest pockets in the game were the National Cable & Telecommunications Association ($18.89 million), AT&T ($17.46 million), Verizon ($15.02 million) and Comcast ($14.68 million). That's just shy of three times what pro-neutrality companies spent in the same period.

With today's ever-present smartphones and tablet computers, we've begun to take for granted that we will always have the Internet in our pocket or purse. And consumer demand is not slowing down one bit. A report from IHS Technology estimates that production of connected devices will jump by 6% in 2014. The supply of these devices has created new media powerhouses like Netflix and YouTube, which feed our continually growing need for streaming audio and video.

On the one hand, you can't blame Internet Service Providers (ISPs) for being a bit galled by the emergence of new media companies. The ISPs built the infrastructure, and they don't like seeing companies make billions on the coattails of their effort.

On the other hand, the hunger for video on the Web isn't just a need of well-heeled hipsters and movie fans. Wainhouse Research estimates that nearly 75% of organizations plan to introduce mobile video conferencing, and 61% want to tie that technology with a unified communication platform.

Businesses demand video and collaboration technologies as large companies continually deal with the needs of a mobile workforce, a global supply chain, and offices in far-flung corners of the world.

Small companies have been able to make use of video over the Internet with lightweight or proprietary services like Google Hangouts, Skype and even FaceTime. They've come to tolerate the freezes, dropouts and poor image quality that comes with those services because their usefulness outweighs the intermittent service problems.

Now, what happens when the ISPs start to demand premium prices to content or collaboration companies to access the pipelines of the Internet? Are the companies that put up with occasional performance glitches going to suddenly spend more time looking at frozen screens than actually communicating? It's more than likely, if the services remain free.

More importantly, what about companies that have graduated from lightweight services to cloud-based systems that cost considerably more? It's annoying enough when you're dealing with a free service, but when you're paying money for poor service, that's a whole new world of irritation.

And most importantly of all, what will this mean for technological innovation?
Netflix may bend to demands for premium pricing for premium service, but the implication for businesses overall is that it could simply solidify the status quo. Startups with limited capital but great ideas will need huge financial backing just to get parity with the big boys to deliver their services. It's not hard to imagine that these companies will have to spend more money on distribution than innovation. When that happens, it's game over for the innovators.

We shouldn't kid ourselves. ISPs aren't going to overbuild existing networks for greater capacity. There's no profit in that. They'll make the business choice to prioritize some services and customers (the ones that have money) at the expense of others (the ones that don't). If your competition suddenly needs more bandwidth and can pay for the VIP section, what do you think will happen to the speed of your digital communications?

It's a simple problem to understand, really. Less capacity across networks means less use of technology that demands that capacity. Less use of video conferencing and collaborative technology, even in the face of demonstrated demand for that technology (because of unequal capacity) may cause the business to slow, and innovation to falter.

The solution, unfortunately, is less easy to understand.

Simon Dudley is the Video Evangelist for Lifesize. He can be reached via Twitter @simondudley or for more information about video conferencing, visit www.lifesize.com.





COMMENTS



Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem


Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

November 1, 2017

Your customers (internal and external) demand that you offer them the ability to connect by any means. With the adoption of cloud communications tools you now have access to an expanded portfolio o

October 18, 2017

Microsofts recent Ignite event had some critically important announcements for enterprise communications. Namely, Microsofts new Team Collaboration offering, Teams, will be its primary communicatio

September 20, 2017

Customer experience can make or break your business. But how do you achieve outstanding customer service when you're dealing with outdated organizational structure, lagging technology, dated proces

September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.