Monday, June 25, 2012

ITU to Review QoS and Traffic Management vs. Net Neutrality

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is going to discuss in its World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) (Dubai, 3-14 December 2012) the relation between Traffic management, Quality of Service (QoS) and Network Neutrality.
A background brief document explains:

"WHETHER A COMMUNICATION NETWORK delivers the applications you expect as a subscriber, at the promised speed and with all features as advertised, depends upon quality of service, or QoS. The concept is part of the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) .. To continue providing adequate QoS, network operators and service providers can build more infrastructure — but this requires huge investments to deal with the enormous growth expected in traffic".

"The parallel solution is traffic management .. Agreements might be struck between Internet service providers (ISPs) and companies that offer applications or content, so that better QoS is given to their transmissions over a network, leaving other customers with less Then there are the so-called “over the top,” or OTT, services (such as Skype) that run through the networks “on top” of the basic provision of Internet access. Operators might seek to charge for reserving a percentage of capacity for these services — which is then not available for general access to the Internet".

"There are proposals to revise the ITRs in order to respond to these changes in technology and the marketplace. In particular, it has been proposed [see "European ISPs Suggest New Internet Business Models" - here] to replace “minimum quality of service” in Article 4.3 with “satisfactory quality of service,” while administrations should ensure that there is transparency in this area so consumers know exactly what they are getting. At present, an ordinary user of the Internet might not know whether his or her connection is slow because of traffic congestion, or because of intentional techniques employed by an operator or ISP".

"Administrations will come together to review the ITRs at the World Conference on International Telecommunications 2012 (WCIT-12). Decisions made there that have an impact on QoS and network neutrality could affect the future development of Internet access, and what quality of experience we can enjoy online".

See "Quality of Service and “Net Neutrality” - here.

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