Welcome!

Big Data Journal Authors: Esmeralda Swartz, Kira Makagon, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Srinivasan Sundara Rajan

Related Topics: Web 2.0, Java, SOA & WOA, Linux, Cloud Expo, Big Data Journal

Web 2.0: Article

Living with “Fast” and “Slow” Internet Lanes: FCC Votes in Favor

Who will step in and introduce the kind of competition that is needed to prevent the doomsday scenarios from becoming reality?

The Internet has been buzzing over the recent news of a federal proposal that creates the equivalent of "slow" and "fast" lanes online. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted on Thursday, May 15, 3-2 in favor of a new proposal that enables the creation of Internet fast lanes, where broadband and cable providers such as Comcast can charge companies like Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and other over-the-top (OTT) providers to pay for priority traffic over a fast lane. The original FCC Open Internet Order of 2010 didn't declare that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) were common carriers that must transport everything irrespective of the content - but it did outlaw pay-for-play fast lanes. The 2010 Open Internet Order is what companies like Verizon challenged and what led to parts being struck down in January 2014 by the US Court of Appeals. The 2010 Order failed to provide legal reasons for "the anti-discrimination and anti-blocking rules" and the US Federal Appeals Court agreed with the ISPs. In order to impose such regulations, ISPs would need to be classified as common carriers, and would essentially be held to the same standards and regulations as your telephone company (telco). Your telco provider does not charge you extra to make calls during peak hours or to guarantee that calls won't be dropped. The public will now be allowed to provide comment, before the FCC enacts the final ruling later in the year. Adding fuel to the debate is whether or not the FCC can enforce policies that do not "divide the Internet into the ‘haves' and ‘have nots.'" Categorizing the debate this way does have the result of drawing individuals into the discussion that would otherwise have been content on the sidelines.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler insisted that the new proposal would not squeeze out the little players and that fast lanes will only be made available when they are "reasonable." It will be interesting to see what constitutes reasonable. He also called out that ISPs could not prioritize traffic from their own subsidiaries to the detriment of others and that Internet providers won't be able to penalize companies that don't pay for the fast lane by slowing their speeds. But giving one company more lanes on the Internet highway translates to a possible unintended consequence of fewer lanes for the rest of the traffic. And that additional fast lane revenue could create an incentive for broadband providers to allow network congestion to build, forcing companies to pay up or deal with the consequence of slow service.

The FCC fast lane plan did not impact deals like the ones reached between Comcast, Verizon and Netflix, in which Netflix (kicking and screaming) agreed to pay for direct connections to the broadband companies' networks to improve streaming speeds. The fast lane plan also does not cover traffic discrimination on the mobile Web. AT&T moved early this year to monetize wireless data caps by charging content providers for the right to serve up video and other media without chewing up consumers' monthly data limits. Eligible 4G customers can get mobile content and apps over AT&T's wireless network without impacting their monthly wireless data plan. The price of data is charged to the content provider and customers are billed based on usage.

The FCC has to consider public comments and face scrutiny from lawmakers before anything can happen. Many of the prophets out there are playing out the ultimate Internet doomsday scenarios, such as:

  1. Only popular and profitable services get capacity because these providers can afford to pay.
  2. Rates go up significantly and niche applications are blocked or relegated to the slow lane.
  3. When you sign on with an ISP, you will then get access to only the restricted portfolio of services offered by that particular ISP. It will be just like signing on to a cable company and getting only the programming the cable company has chosen.
  4. Will ISPs each issue their list of Internet "channels" to tell us what we can access? This may be easier than providing a list of what is blocked or slowed down.
  5. If service providers can adjust charging for the optimization of the increasingly scarce resource of bandwidth, what incentive is there for them to build more capacity? Why not just keep the network the way it is, and command higher and higher prices for the privilege of using it?

While the debate continues to play out in the media and increasingly in Washington, I thought it worthwhile to provide an alternative view on why the situation is perhaps not as dire as some would have us believe: good old-fashioned innovation and competition, the cornerstone of American capitalism.

In my series of blogs on net neutrality, I've suggested that the removal of the FCC's open Internet rules on blocking and preferential services might not in reality provide U.S. Internet access providers with the clear and unfettered path they expected to create new profits from Internet traffic control. In one example, I speculate that the device manufacturers might get in the way or demand a financial cut. In another, I imagine that edge-providers might not be an easy sell, and may even be among those that choose to set up shop as competitive access providers, now that the gate has been opened to imaginative competitive differentiation.

Like most things, the reality will likely be vastly different than the frenzied speculation. An alternative view is that we can look at the end of net neutrality as a step forward for competition in the world of Internet access by providing increased differentiation opportunities which are good for competition. If the only difference between services is price, then it's tough for new entrants to make a business case for entering the market. However, if every access provider offers a different suite of preferred edge providers, this expands the opportunities.

Who will step in and introduce the kind of competition that is needed to prevent the doomsday scenarios from becoming reality? This is a network infrastructure business, and traditionally the cost of entry has been prohibitively high. That's why we tend to think of telecom carriers and cable companies as "natural monopolies" and choose to live with the situation, alleviated somewhat by a modicum of regulation. However, this is the 21st century and the world is a very different place then when the net neutrality debate began over 20 years ago and the legal wrangling began. The cost of bandwidth has plummeted, broadband wireless access technologies are much more capable and cost-effective, and there are many large corporations such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google and more with deep pockets. There are also investors interested in anything disruptive and game-changing. What is clear is that disruption based on price alone will be the exception and not the norm.

Follow us on Twitter for more updates, and maybe more opposing views, on the ongoing net neutrality debate.

More Stories By Esmeralda Swartz

Esmeralda Swartz is CMO of MetraTech, now part of Ericsson. She has spent 15 years as a marketing, product management, and business development technology executive bringing disruptive technologies and companies to market. Esmeralda is responsible for go-to-market strategy and execution, product marketing, product management, business development and partner programs. Prior to MetraTech, Esmeralda was co-founder, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Lightwolf Technologies, a big data management startup. She was previously co-founder and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development of Soapstone Networks, a developer of OSS software, now part of Extreme Networks (Nasdaq:EXTR). At Avici Systems (Nasdaq:AVCI), Esmeralda was Vice President of Marketing for the networking pioneer from startup through its successful IPO. Early in her career, she was a Director at IDC, where she led the network consulting practice and worked with startup and leading software and hardware companies, and Wall Street clients on product and market strategies. Esmeralda holds a Bachelor of Science with a concentration in Marketing and International Business from Northeastern University.

You can view her other blogs at www.metratech.com/blog.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@BigDataExpo Stories
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the ...
Agility is top of mind for Cloud/Service providers and Enterprises alike. Policy Driven Data Center provides a policy model for application deployment by decoupling application needs from the underlying infrastructure primitives. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, David Klebanov, a Technical Solutions Architect with Cisco Systems, discussed how it differentiates from the software-defined top-down control by offering a declarative approach to allow faster and simpler application deployment. Davi...
The adoption of the Internet Of Things (IoT) is growing and its growth is synonymous with the growth of cloud. As per predictions from IDC: IoT and the Cloud: Within the next five years, more than 90% of all IoT data will be hosted on service provider platforms as cloud computing reduces the complexity of supporting IoT "Data Blending." This means that any organization that wanted to transform themselves using IoT has to automatically embrace the cloud too, especially the public cloud. This b...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
“We help people build clusters, in the classical sense of the cluster. We help people put a full stack on top of every single one of those machines. We do the full bare metal install," explained Greg Bruno, Vice President of Engineering and co-founder of StackIQ, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, John Meza, Product Engineer at Esri, showed how Esri products hook into Hadoop cluster to allow you to do spatial analysis on the spatial data within your cluster, and he demonstrated rendering from a data center with ArcGIS Pro, a new product that has a brand new rendering engine.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), which enables organizations to seamlessly run in a hybrid cloud model (public + private cloud), is here to stay. IDC estimates that the software-defined networking market will be valued at $3.7 billion by 2016. Security is a key component and benefit of the SDDC, and offers an opportunity to build security 'from the ground up' and weave it into the environment from day one. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Reuven Harrison, CTO and Co-Founder of Tufin,...
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your onlin...
Hardware will never be more valuable than on the day it hits your loading dock. Each day new servers are not deployed to production the business is losing money. While Moore's Law is typically cited to explain the exponential density growth of chips, a critical consequence of this is rapid depreciation of servers. The hardware for clustered systems (e.g., Hadoop, OpenStack) tends to be significant capital expenses. In his session at Big Data Expo, Mason Katz, CTO and co-founder of StackIQ, disc...
Software Defined Storage provides many benefits for customers including agility, flexibility, faster adoption of new technology and cost effectiveness. However, for IT organizations it can be challenging and complex to build your Enterprise Grade Storage from software. In his session at Cloud Expo, Paul Turner, CMO at Cloudian, looked at the new Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) market and how it is changing the storage world. Now Software Defined Storage companies can build Enterprise grade ...
Can the spatial component of your Big Data be harnessed and visualized, adding another dimension of power and analytics to your data? In his session at Big Data Expo®, John Meza, Product Engineer and Performance Engineering Team Lead at Esri, discussed the spatial queries that can be used within the Hadoop ecosystem and their integration with GeoSpatial applications. The GIS Tools for Hadoop project was also discussed and its implementation to discover location-based patterns and relationships...
In this Women in Technology Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing at Verizon Enterprise, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO at MetraTech; Evelyn de Souza, Data Privacy and Compliance Strategy Leader at Cisco Systems; Seema Jethani, Director of Product Management at Basho Technologies; Victoria Livschitz, CEO of Qubell Inc.; Anne Hungate, Senior Director of Software Quality at DIRECTV, discussed what path they took to find their spot within the tec...
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete...
Software AG and Wipro Ltd. have announced a joint solution platform for streaming analytics that provides real-time actionable intelligence for the Internet of Things (IoT) market. “The key to successfully addressing the IoT market is the ability to rapidly build and evolve apps that tap into, analyze and make smart decisions on fast, big data”, said John Bates, Global Head of Industry Solutions and CMO, Software AG. To address the huge market potential created by streaming analytics in conj...
Amazon, Google and Facebook are household names in part because of their mastery of Big Data. But what about organizations without billions of dollars to spend on Big Data tools - how can they extract value from their data? In his session at 6th Big Data Expo®, Ali Ghodsi, Co-Founder and Head of Engineering at Databricks, discussed how the zero management cost and scalability of the cloud is addressing the challenges and pain points that data engineers face when working with Big Data. He also s...
We’re no longer looking to the future for the IoT wave. It’s no longer a distant dream but a reality that has arrived. It’s now time to make sure the industry is in alignment to meet the IoT growing pains – cooperate and collaborate as well as innovate. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, will examine the key ingredients to IoT success and identify solutions to challenges the industry is facing. The deep industry expertise be...
DevOps means different things to different people. Qubell defines DevOps as the ability for the developer teams to do what they need to do to have this level of self-service. At DevOps Summit, Stan Klimoff, CTO of Qubell, demos the enterprise DevOps platform.
SYS-CON Events announced today that that Innodisk, the service-driven provider of industrial embedded flash and DRAM storage products and technologies, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Innodisk is a service-driven provider of industrial embedded flash and DRAM storage products and technologies. With satisfied customers across the embedded, aerospace and defense, cloud storage markets an...
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.