Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Net Neutrality Approval Reopens US Market for DPI and Policy Management

The FCC approved yesterday the Net Neutrality guidelines, based on the recent proposal by Chairman Genachowski.

The approved guidelines are in fact a compromised (proposed originally by Google and Verizon - here) compared to the initial FCC proposal (the guidelines are covered - here).

"The rules require all broadband providers to publicly disclose network management practices, restrict broadband providers from blocking Internet content and applications, and bar fixed broadband providers from engaging in unreasonable discrimination in transmitting lawful network traffic.  The rules ensure much-needed transparency and continued Internet openness, while making clear that broadband providers can effectively manage their networks and respond to market demands" 

See the FCC formal announcement - "FCC Acts to Preserve Internet Freedom and Openness" - here.

For DPI and policy management vendors, the approval is very significant, especially for their activity in the US (which will probably affect the EU and other major market considering Net Neutrality):
  1. After years of uncertainty, a decision has been made. Carriers and ISPs that were waiting for the FCC to decide, delaying DPI investments may now re-launch traffic management projects.
  2. The new guidelines do not bar the wireless carriers, the most lucrative market for DPI and policy management vertical market today, from "engaging in unreasonable discrimination".
  3. Wireline carriers, allowed to “effectively manage their networks and respond to market demands” (known also as "reasonable network management"' -see definition below), will need to use smart network management tools in order to improve QoE to subscribers, reduce congestion, secure the network and offer security services, parental controls and similar needs.
In short - I see this decision, which may be seen as a threat to the DPI industry, as a great opportunity for the DPI market to grow!

Reasonable network management.  A network management practice is reasonable if it is appropriate and tailored to achieving a legitimate network management purpose, taking into account the particular network architecture and technology of the broadband Internet access service. Legitimate network management purposes include: ensuring network security and integrity, including by addressing traffic that is harmful to the network; addressing traffic that is unwanted by users (including by premise operators), such as by providing services or capabilities consistent with a user’s choices regarding parental controls or security capabilities; and by reducing or mitigating the effects of congestion on the network.

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