Open Neutral Fair

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

Open Neutral Fair

There are a bunch of debates raging over the telecommunications infrastructure. 

Congress has looked at Open Access bills for cellular networks. By this we mean that a consumer can use any available handset or device on any cell network. This is kind of the Carterphone concept for cellular.

The 700 MHz auction had open access provisions built right in, so VZW's 4G/LTE network will need to incorporate Open Access.

Spectrum is a finite resource. TV, radio, public safety and the cell companies all share access to various licensed spectrums. Other companies, like oil companies to communicate with rigs and ships, have purchased spectrum licenses. There is also the unlicensed bands like 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz, and 3650 MHz that are shared by any and all. We are seeing in the 2.4 GHz band that too much usage causes crowding and in some cases makes the spectrum useless. (Your little blue Linksys wireless AP's use 2.4 GHz, as does quite a few cordless phones and other consumer products). As more and more products and consumers go cordless and wireless, this resource will be used up. It must be allocated better. 

(An aside: Open Access has one advantage: less handsets in the landfill.)

Net Neutrality is based on network management. Both cable and DSL have bottleneck issues in your community. To manage those issues, the service provider uses tools, hardware and software, to prioritize traffic. This same set of tools can be used to degrade Vonage while prioritizing the ISP's VoIP service offering. These same tools can be used for DPI (deep packet inspection) to read every unencrypted packet that passes through the box. This same tool can be used to police the network (or Internet) of child porn, illegal downloads, and the like. Do we really want that kind of Big Brother action? 

At the heart of the NN debate is the fact that a few ISP's have degraded VoIP packets and legitimate P2P (peer-to-peer file-sharing) traffic. As networks go all IP, there needs to be a set of guidelines for peering traffic and network management. I don't think the FCC or Congress should be the ones making these rules. Any rules they come up with will be a compromise that will ultimately solve nothing, but create new problems.

The final debate in DC is about Fair Competitive Access to the telco infrastructure. After court rulings and Forbearance petitions in 2004-06, CLEC's and ISP's have been losing ground in the ability to get access to telco network elements to provide service to customers at a fair and competitive price. In so many cases, the CLEC "wholesale" rate is higher than retail. Make sense? Docket 05-25 at the FCC is the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Special Access Rates. 

While they may seem similar in that they are all about access to the network, they all are about different aspects of the network access. In the end, Open Access Rules and Net Neutrality guideleines will define how we use the networks for innovation, collaboration and communication.

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