LR Poll: Net 'Squatters' Should Pay
Many telecom industry watchers believe broadband operators should get a little something in return for their carriage of high-bandwidth IP services like voice, gaming, and video, according to the results from the latest Light Reading poll.
A growing number of companies are profiting from the delivery of increasingly bandwidth-intensive services over the public Internet, and some telco, cable, and satellite broadband providers feel that they are footing the bill. Some even refer to providers of bring-your-own-access services like Vonage Holdings Corp. (NYSE: VG) and MovieLink as "squatters."
Most Light Readers feel that the market, not the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) , should determine the carriage responsibilities of broadband operators when delivering various types of IP services. (See Net Neutrality Goes to Washington.)
Our poll on the subject just closed at 3:00 p.m. EST today, and nearly 400 readers weighed in on the issue. (See Net Neutrality.)
To begin with, 62 percent of our readers think that broadband network operators have every right to ask for a "QOS fee" from content providers wanting to ensure smooth delivery of their IP services. The question of QOS fees has been top of mind in Washington lately, as lawmakers and lobbyists discuss whether or not rules around the practice should be included in new telecom legislation. (See Survey Sparks QOS Fee Debate.)
Most readers -- 66 percent -- believe broadband providers will take some action to degrade the quality of competing voice services running over their networks. The VOIP community often points out that IP phone calls use a small amount of bandwidth compared to video and gaming applications. The network owners counter that some Skype Ltd. users use a VOIP connection to monitor their children at home, leaving call sessions open for hours or days on end. (See QOS Fees Could Change Everything .)
The RBOCs have lined up behind BellSouth Corp. (NYSE: BLS), which said publicly it endorses the idea of charging content providers the QOS fee. BellSouth says it is exploring the idea of selling certain video and gaming content providers a higher tier of broadband service to ensure QOS for the customer.
Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), for one, has said it will not consent to such arrangements with broadband operators. (See Google Says No to QOS Fees.) The company, among many others, is pushing lawmakers to codify net neutrality principles into law and give the FCC enforcement authority. (See Google Goes to Wonkytown.)
Only 30 percent of our readers said the commission should block broadband providers from charging Internet companies for higher levels of QOS. Most observers believe the commission itself isn’t eager to get involved unless the telcos and Internet players can’t come to an agreement on QOS fees among themselves.
FCC chairman Kevin Martin recently said publicly that, while the commission would never allow a network operator to block a given Internet service, “limiting” or reducing the speed of the service was a quite another thing.
— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading