Saturday, March 10, 2012

[IHS] Net Neutrality is Still Here; Driven by Operators-OTT Conflict

A new report by Dexter Thillien (pictured), Senior Analyst, Telecoms, IHS Global Insight "looks at the topic of net neutrality as data traffic increases and regulators look to legislate on the issue".

The key findings are:
  • With data traffic growing at a fast pace and increasing mobile broadband demand, the net-neutrality issue has taken centre stage
  • Operators are looking to protect their investments and their bandwidth, while over-the-top (OTT) companies want to ensure that content won't be arbitrarily blocked
  • Several countries and regions have consultations on the topic, but very few have binding net-neutrality legislation, with the US  [here] and the Netherlands  [here] the two pioneers in the field
  • Net neutrality means different things to different players [here], with no two markets sharing the same definition. However, a common denominator exists based on transparency [EU - here ; UK - here; see also "Allot: 25% of MNOs Have a Transparency Issue with "Unlimited" Service Plans" - hereand fair traffic-management practices [here]
  • The main issues remain whether the internet is a public good or a business, and whether there exists one or several internets
  • Further differences exist in terms of whether to cover both fixed and mobile networks, as well as the role of piracy [hereand OTT players in the net-neutrality debate
  • The US case study highlights that the middle ground pleases no-one, while the Dutch example highlights the risk of all-encompassing legislation
  • Regulators have the arduous task of ensuring that there remains strong competition within a specific market, while at the same time ensuring that customers are well-served by their providers
  • The battle between carriers and providers is set to continue, with carriers now offering their own internet services as they have a similar objective in maintaining a key relationship with the end user.
The paper, "Net Neutrality on the Radar", is available here (registration required) or by contacting the author (here).

See also "US Net Neutrality: Different Things to Different People; Lawsuits to Come" - here

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