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Telecom Companies Argue For Specialized Services In E.U. Net Neutrality Law

The United States has just passed some drastic net neutrality rules that, among other things, ban Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and wireless carriers from creating a "two-speed" Internet, where there would be a regular (slower) Internet lane and a faster one. This could make ISPs the gatekeepers for what services they allow to succeed on the market, and it wouldn't be good for the innovation on the Internet.

Even though initially it looked like the European Union would be ahead of the U.S. on this issue when the old Commission was in charge, things might change for the worse before the actual net neutrality law passes in the E.U.

Some European countries, pushed by telecom lobbyists, are proposing that there should be a "two-speed" Internet to help ISPs make more money through special deals with Internet services -- the same kind of deals that were banned recently in the U.S. with the arrival of the new rules.

Companies such as Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom argue that they will need prioritized connections for "essential" services they can provide to hospitals or self-driving cars. The existing proposals, drafted by the Latvian government, which currently holds the E.U. presidency, insist on treating all traffic the same but still allow ISPs to charge for faster Internet connections as it's been done so far.

The difference is that they would get paid more by the users of the service for a faster service, rather than getting paid by service vendors to make their services faster. The latter would lead to discrimination based on the type of deals the telecom companies make with those services.

The current net neutrality proposal in the E.U., specifically Amendment 235, allows specialized services to exist, but there is a pretty clear definition of what a specialized service is, as to not confuse them with regular Internet services:

“Specialised service" means an electronic communications service optimized for specific content, applications or services, or a combination thereof, provided over logically distinct capacity, relying on strict admission control, offering functionality requiring enhanced quality from end to end, and that is not marketed or usable as a substitute for internet access service.

As long as the final net neutrality law also states that these specialized or safety-critical services (such as self-driving cars) are completely distinct from regular Internet services and even have their own "logically separated" connections, so that the specialized services and the regular Internet services aren't interfering with each others' speeds, then the net neutrality of the Internet in E.U. shouldn't be impacted in a significant way.

ISPs could still be bound by law to offer the Internet speeds they promised consumers, while at the same time not have a surge in video streaming cause accidents for self-driving cars.

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  • falchard
    O.O the writer of this article must be uneducated to think that the recent FCC rules does what he says it does.
    Reply
  • alidan
    O.O the writer of this article must be uneducated to think that the recent FCC rules does what he says it does.

    google and other tech companies backed the fcc decision, and if it did screw the internet over, it wouldn't be in their best interest... do you think some of the richest people in the country, some of the most powerful corporations would knowingly screw themselves over? the fact that so many internet providers hated this makes me like it just because they have been bending us over the table for YEARS, its finally time someone/something did it to them.
    Reply
  • virtualban
    Net neutrality laws protect the consumer, and are here to stay, because the 99% say so.
    But, if the bandwidth is limited, like mobile... well, there may be a point. No excuse (or bribe) for anything else, though.
    Reply
  • d_kuhn
    We've all heard the ISP cry about how NN will stifle creativity... but the only creativity it's going to stifle is their creative ways of getting more money out of customers (us). Of course they don't like the fact that they can no longer hide the true cost of their service by charging us directly and also charging the folks providing us services so they pass those charges to us INDIRECTLY. "Woe am I" they say... "Netflix is using all our bandwidth", so their solution - instead of just telling users their rates are going up (because network utilization is increasing) is to charge Netflix more and let them charge us. Personally... I'd rather know who really has their hands in my wallet.
    Reply
  • derekullo
    Hmm ... so

    "Torrent Car"
    Reply
  • falchard
    Yes the biggest corps and richest people would screw themselves over in order to pass net neutrality.
    Cumbersome regulations only hurt the top companies a little. They bar entry of new competitors who have a more difficult time navigating the regulations. The bigger companies also find ways to speed through the regulatory process like what Google did in Austion and Kansas City.
    Reply
  • toadhammer
    Gah! We need more technically savvy people in power, or informing those in power. If I were dictator, possibly upper-age limits or qualification exams on politicians.

    This is what Class Of Service and Quality Of Service is for...marking low priority packets that can be dropped during congestion (voice, video) so that high priority packets (please-don't-crash-or-crush car packets) can get through. And that whole QoS infrastructure is already in place and must be in place, regardless of who is paying what.
    Reply
  • d_kuhn
    Net Neutrality doesn't need to bar entry into the ISP market... the high barriers to entry of a highly capital intensive business combined with ISP lobbying to block competition have done that already and NN can't possibly make that anything other than better (by preventing ISP's from pushing anti-competitive legislation like blocking municipal services). They want to act like monopolies, now they can be treated as such.
    Reply
  • d_kuhn
    Toadhammer QoS is source agnostic... so it's not what the ISP's were doing (which is to take two sources of the same data (Netflix streaming video and Verizon's own streaming service for instance) and provide higher data rates to theirs (or the one that pays more). QoS still makes as much sense as it ever did... but monetizing the delivery performance is what has been shut down... thank dog.
    Reply
  • toadhammer
    15431070 said:
    Toadhammer QoS is source agnostic... so it's not what the ISP's were doing (which is to take two sources of the same data (Netflix streaming video and Verizon's own streaming service for instance) and provide higher data rates to theirs (or the one that pays more). QoS still makes as much sense as it ever did... but monetizing the delivery performance is what has been shut down... thank dog.

    Understood. I was more criticizing the thinking that there had to be money and special arrangements involved for self-driving cars to get the packet delivery guarantee it supposedly needs.
    Reply