Neutral India’s Recipe for Net-Neutrality

BY MIKA SKARP

A major third Net Neutrality decision was made yesterday. Given the public outcry and political will to support it, it's no wonder it was India. Interestingly though, but not out of character, India's approach to Net Neutrality was is its own way as neutral as the country's political history. 

In 2015 authorities in the United States and Europe in their respective net neutrality decisions elected to allow mobile networks to be treated thesame way as fixed networks. While you are not permitted to favor certain content based on its destination, you are allowed to use a different service classes . What this means is that video can have a different service classes than email, but all videos are treated equally. This is what different service class for consumers can look like in practice.

Whilst it was expected that a similar decision would be taken by India, this was not the case. India’s fixed broadband infrastructure is not as widespread and the question at hand has been about zero rating. What will this mean as regards accessing free services like Facebook? India doesn’t like zero rating scheme, nor does it support having different service levels for different application types. Where the idea of Net Neutrality was met and agreed upon, many valuable aspects alongside zero rating, were rejected and left behind.

India is not the only country who is facing this problem. Many African nation’s telecom operators struggle with the same issues, unsure of why they should start implementing 5G when many areas do not even have affordable voice services. What then is the real solution here?

5G works off of the principle of providing many services from a single network. In practice this implies that services that once demanded high cost dedicated connections will soon to be served by one unified network. Needless to say the economy of scale delivered by a single, general purpose network brings down 5G’s price point significantly. If one looks at the price of a satellite truck in Finland for example, the cost of covering one football game comes in somewhere  between €2000 and €3000, whereas a profiled HD-ready LTE connection on a standard LTE network would cost only €150. This savings of over 90% would also apply to a complete range of other services for different business verticals.

What this signifies in terms of the earlier mentioned problem is that if a service level differentiation is made in the mobile network, profitability can increase and basic services can be offered not only at a lower cost but free in some cases.

While much of this is focused on 5G, these opportunities are in fact being implemented on today’s LTE networks using Cloudstreet and its Dynamic Profile Control solution.  

If you would like to hear more about Cloudstreet and our approach to delivering Application-Aware Networks, visit us at the Finnish Pavilion at Cloudstreet at Mobile World Conference 2016 in Barcelona. For more information got to www.mwc16.fi or visit our site at www.cloudstreet.co.