Menu
Vodafone gives network neutrality a thumbs down

Vodafone gives network neutrality a thumbs down

Vodafone doesn't believe network neutrality will work as capacity demands increase, forcing operators to build out faster networks. Instead, a second network is needed, according to David Leftley, head of technology economics at Vodafone Group R&D.

Network neutrality typically refers the way internet access or backbone providers deliver packets on a first-come, first-served basis, and do not prioritise packets of one type, source or destination.

That internet model has so far meant a free lunch for application providers, companies such as Google currently sit on top of networks which the large network operators happily have put in place, according to Leftley.

That has to change, according to Leftley. His idea of how future networks should be financed and built is at odds with the principles of network neutrality.

"There are the network neutralists who believe we just build an infinite capacity network, as big as you can. Bandwidth is infinite, the carrier has no differentiation, and all content has infinite value. The application provider, on the whole, ignores the carrier. There is no value exchange, so I don't see how that can work," said Leftley, in panel discussion on the future economics of the internet at the Wireless World Research Forum in Stockholm on Tuesday.

Instead, what is needed is an alternative, intelligent internet that can extract and distribute the value of the content it carries, Leftley said. The solution he proposes, IPX (IP Exchange), is already being developed by mobile phone operators.

IPX will consist of a number of private, global IP (Internet Protocol) backbones designed to guarantee quality of service when users connected to different mobile operators communicate with one other.

The first IPX networks will see the light of day next year, and will make it possible for all involved to receive "a fair commercial return for their work," according to industry organisation the GSM Association, which is leading the development.

What Leftley sees as a change in the message from network vendors has convinced him that operators are on the right track.

Leftley said he has had discussions with the likes of Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks, and they have gone from opposing the idea of an intelligent network to embracing it.

"There seems to be a common understanding that this has to happen," he said.

Leftley wasn't the only one on the panel advocating the idea of a second network. France Télécom and TeliaSonera, both working with Vodafone on IPX, are on the same page.

The French operator sees a future with two internets, where one is a best-effort network and one offers support for quality-of-service guarantees. Users will for example be able to choose between free TV over the regular internet or pick and pay for a service that uses the new network and get better quality.

"Two models for different users and services," said Brigitte Cardinael, at Orange Labs, a subsidiary of France Télécom.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags international news

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Reseller News honoured the leading female front runners of the New Zealand channel at the 2018 Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) in Auckland. The awards honoured standout individuals across seven categories, spanning Entrepreneur; Innovation; Rising Star; Shining Star; Community; Technical and Achievement.

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel
Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Microsoft honoured leading partners across the channel following a year of customer innovation and market growth in New Zealand. The 2018 Microsoft Partner Awards recognised excellence within the context of the end-user, spanning a host of emerging and established providers.

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners
Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Introducing the Reseller News Innovation Awards, launched to the channel at the 2018 Judges’ Lunch in Auckland. With more than 70 judges now part of the voting panel, the new-look awards will reflect the changing dynamics of the channel, recognising excellence across customer value and innovation - spanning start-ups, partners, distributors and vendors.

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch
Show Comments