Dean Bubley: Telcos' digital services and OTT businesses make Net Neutrality more important than ever

InsightaaS: Net neutrality is a key issue in Canada and around the world, as government regulators, telcos, web-based businesses and consumer advocates look to strike a business model balance that allows for innovation at all layers of the solution stack. Here in Canada, the discussion often revolves around attempts by incumbent telcos to impose overly-burdensome restrictions on other firms (in the wireless space, and potentially, in the cloud as well).

InsightaaS has on several occasions featured commentary from Michael Geist on this issue, highlighting his work in ensuring that Canadian consumers are not harmed by telco business practices. This post, from Dean Bubley’s Disruptive Wireless blog, takes a different path to a similar destination. Bubley is the founder of telecom consulting company Disruptive Analysis, which analyzes telco business models. In this post, Bubley argues that “telcos actually need Net Neutrality to survive & thrive, even though some don’t realise it .”

Telcos actually need Net Neutrality to survive & thrive, even though some don’t realise it.

The current US & European softening of regulatory stance about “managed services” and Net Neutrality potentially hands suicide pills to operators, who mistake them for candy.

The problem is that some telco executives – and most of their lobbyists and industry associations – are still living in the past, and haven’t actually caught up with the realities of creating and delivering new services, working with customers’ preferred behaviour, and interacting with the innovators and developers of tomorrow’s propositions.

In addition, many are being influenced by vendors still pushing an assortment of unworkable plans around “personalisation”, “smart pipes”, “differentiated QoS”, “1-800 models”, “sender-pays content delivery” and assorted other policy paraphernalia and “useless-cases”. I’ve been in meetings listening to telco network folk regurgitate tired marketing slogans about “turbo boosts” and “monetising OTT services” recently and had to do urgent remedial re-education on the realities of what’s actually feasible.

Until now, Net Neutrality (in some markets) or at least the threat of regulatory intervention, has acted as a safety valve protecting telcos from themselves…

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