The EU's Newly Refined Rules on Net Neutrality Deliver a Gamechanger for Mobile Operators
By Mika Skarp
This past Tuesday, August 30th, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications or BEREC released new guidelines to the continent’s National Regulation Agencies (NRAs) about how to regulate Net Neutrality in Europe. The refined guidelines are very detailed and provide a clear roadmap and use case for delivering reliable IPTV and other services over mobile networks.
Perhaps the most critical aspect of the BEREC guideline is that it is based on the “one-network" principle, accepting that different use cases require different services from network. This marries well to the established consensus that the modern wireless economy and business case requires but one network. And most interestingly for us, and why we are sharing this important development with you, relates to how this may be implemented immediately from a business and technological standpoint.
Three Cheers for Three Tiers!
In the modern mobile networks there are three different classes of traffic; Best Effort, Capacity Sensitive and Delay Sensitive classes. The Best Effort class is designated for app synchronization for popular communications tools like Facebook, twitter and even web mail at the handset. Capacity Sensitive is designated for experience-intensive applications like Netflix and online games and employs buffering to ensure uninterrupted enjoyment. The Delay Sensitive class is for applications that depend on low latency exchange between multiple parties as in Telehealth, web conferencing and MMO RPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games). Within these classes there exist several sub-classes to accommodate different user contexts that may relate to screen size, picture definition etc. The new BEREC guidelines allow all of these considerations to be taken into account when designing services and improving mobile network reliability.
What it Means & How it Must be Delivered
Critical to this landmark amendment, BEREC asserts it must be the end user that makes the decision on what kind of service level he or she wants to use. And by corollary, it is not the network that is making the decision about what bit rates need to be delivered to accommodate a given use case, but the consumer. Tied to the core principals of Net Neutrality, it represents a clear mandate that special classes, service tiers or profiles must not be triggered by certain applications, but they must be available easily and for all similar services. For example, it would be prohibited to allow a special profile only for Netflix, but rather for all video streaming services regardless of their size or popularity. Sub-classes of, in this example, Capacity Sensitive applications would provide for different profiles for SD and HD video streams equally and across the board. While there are some edge cases when the network would be allowed to conduct policy control, but in general, it will be up to consumer to decide what profile to use. BEREC includes a provision that all services being handled must be available for every one, and that any special polices must to be temporary. In a nutshell, this means that every consumer must be treated equally in the network and that when a special class or subclass is needed, the consumer must be the one to request it.
Getting Specific: The Use Cases
To illustrate the amending guidelines, BEREC provides specific use cases in the documentation that include IPTV, Healthcare and "special services". These are good examples to use. In the case of IPTV, which requires a constant bit rate, it should be noted that it is not actually consuming more data due to better network quality. In the healthcare use cases, measurements are delay sensitive and thus can’t be buffered and require extra reliability. 5G network slicing is applied to special services that may include controlling autonomous cars, droids or electricity networks. It is interesting to note that VoLTE is also mentioned here allowing operators to provide the same class or profile for VoLTE as for say Skype or WhatsApp calls.
How and when can these important guidelines be implemented?
The BEREC guidelines will have an enormous impact on telecom business in Europe and the opportunity to take advantage of them starts now. With the delivery of this provision, mobile operators can immediately begin selling different service tiers for different users. Equally important is that the business of mobile service is scalable once again.
For Cloudstreet the positive implications of this ruling can not be overstated. First and foremost Cloudstreet’s Dynamic Profile Controller ™ (DPC™), always aligned with the EU’s Net Neutrality laws, is now a 100% EU-compliant product. Not only that, but it is to our knowledge the only product that is immediately equipped to deliver on the critical business opportunities greenlit by the new BEREC guidelines this week. In short, any DPC™-enabled mobile operator in Europe will be able to deliver SLA-based capacity products within their existing 4G/LTE networks, with 99.99% reliability.
Cloudstreet’s Dynamic Profile Controller ™ (DPC™)
By way of a refresher, the Cloudstreet DPC™ is a patent pending technology that provides end user controlled dedicated connection creation for specific applications. A good way to understand its benefit is to imagine it as “fiber over air”. Our technology has been piloted over the last two years in Finland in some of most demanding use cases and with extremely good results. Not only is it a proven technology with near limitless new service revenue potential, but it solves the mobile industry’s most hindering challenge. This small refinement of the EU’s guidelines today allows mobile operators to pivot their business model opening up massively scalable potential. And what’s more, this opportunity is now before you today and well in advance of the arrival of 5G.
For more information on how to get started with Cloudstreet, don't hesitate to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at +358 50 5829809