Opinion Op Ed 14 Feb 2016 Net Neutrality is to ...
Ravi Visvesvaraya Prasad is a telecommunications and IT consultant. His ICT Policy and Research Group made submissions to Trai supporting differential data pricing. The above comments are an edited version of his comments posted on Facebook.

Net Neutrality is total nonsense

Published Feb 14, 2016, 3:13 am IST
Updated Feb 14, 2016, 3:15 am IST
Trai ban on Differential Data Pricing goes against international business practices, peering and interconnection agreements.
Net Neutrality is neither technologically feasible nor desirable business wise. (Representational image)
 Net Neutrality is neither technologically feasible nor desirable business wise. (Representational image)

I am very disappointed by Trai ban on Differential Data Pricing. I am strongly in favour of Differential Data Pricing and am anti-Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality is total nonsense from a technological point of view. You cannot build a packet switched network which guarantees that each bit of data will be treated equally.

Net Neutrality is neither technologically feasible nor desirable business wise. Trai has succumbed to pressure from activists who know nothing about how packet switched networks work. I have spent 35 years in telecom engineering, I challenge anyone in the world to design a packet switched network that can consistently implement Net Neutrality.

 

How many of those millions of laypeople shooting their mouths off about Net Neutrality even know what Net Neutrality is?

The definition of Net Neutrality in the Open Systems Interconnect Seven Layer model is: “Net neutrality is the adherence to the paradigm that operation of a service at a certain layer is not influenced by any data other than the data interpreted at that layer, and in accordance with the protocol specification for that layer.”

This is impossible to achieve technologically since packet switched networks inherently prioritise different types of data. Packet switched networks are stochastic, not deterministic. You cannot predict with certainty how a stochastic packet switched network will behave over time.

 

The internet is full of ‘unintentional inequalities’. Fast lanes are already a fact of life as in Content Delivery Networks, where the big content providers (Google, Facebook, Netflix, Microsoft) use deep hosting and bypass the internet backbone.

Trai ban on Differential Data Pricing goes against international business practices, peering and interconnection agreements.

The European Union decided not to ban Zero Rating. Only Chile, Slovenia, Netherlands and Finland had banned Zero Rating, and the European countries have to reverse this since the European Union voted in October 2015 to permit Zero Rating schemes. The USA regulates Zero Rating on a case-by-case basis. Data tariffs will go up in India greatly now. Facebook has to be blamed for its terrible public relations and media relations strategies, which aroused suspicions over its intentions.

 

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