No free riding for telcos over the Internet: ETNO not impressed

Ian Scales
By Ian Scales

Apr 3, 2014

As expected, the restrictions placed by the plenary session on the specialised services part of Neelie Kroes’ ‘connected continent’ package has left the European telco lobby spitting sparks.

“Today’s vote risks derailing the original objectives of the Connected Continent Regulation, namely a strong European digital industry igniting growth and jobs creation,” ETNO Chairman Luigi Gambardella said. “We are confident that the upcoming work of the EU decision makers will acknowledge such risk and will embrace the spirit of the Commission’s original proposal, confirming that the EU seeks solutions for growth, and not populist measures”.

What particularly irks Luigi are the amendments which completely spoil the specialised services wheeze. “We are very concerned by amendments mandating a complete separation of specialized services and requiring that they have no influence at all on the capacity which is made available to other Internet services.”

What the telcos want is to free ride their demanding services within the Internet pipes so they have something to prioritise against - without such a mechanism you can’t meet stringent performance measures on jitter or latency unless (on the other hand) you were to run your services in an over-provisioned pipe just to meet the peak demand - an option which would make the service more costly.

A possible metaphor in this case (but only this case) is air travel where first class passengers get a wide choice of scheduled flights because they travel with the cattle class who fill up the planes. If the posh travellers were to demand exclusive flights it would be much more expensive.

Luigi Gambardella again: “If the restrictive changes to the Open Internet provisions are confirmed in the final text, the access of European citizens and businesses to innovative and high-quality services will be negatively affected. This would turn into a dangerous situation, in which the European digital economy will suffer and EU businesses will be put in a difficult competitive situation with respect to other regions of the world”.

I doubt it. More likely that anti-neutrality advocates in the US are looking nervous and out of step.

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