Click here to close now.


Agile Computing Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Jayaram Krishnaswamy, Liz McMillan, Kevin Benedict, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Agile Computing, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Network Neutrality, Victory or Disappointment? | Part 1

A January 14th ruling from the United States Federal Court of Appeals has stirred the pot once again

Despite the fact that the net neutrality debate is a discussion that has been ongoing for years, a January 14th ruling from the United States Federal Court of Appeals has stirred the pot once again. The court's decision has created a renewed upsurge in comments, opinions and future-gazing, with debate squarely landing in two very different camps. And, as is to be expected, there is actually very little neutrality.

One is left to ask if it is in fact possible to look at this topic objectively, without taking sides from the outset. Perhaps the passage of time has helped to put the topic in perspective. It may be that the Internet itself, which plays such a central role in our daily lives, has achieved a sort of self-defining momentum that will in due course make some of the net neutrality debate academic.

In this blog and follow-up posts, I'll try to keep the discussion of the recent court decision short and to the point. The actual decision document is here for you to read if you have a couple of hours to spare, and it's worth reading closely to get the true sense of what this decision is all about. Strangely enough, it's not really about net neutrality at all.

The Appeals Court decision is really all about the FCC's Open Internet Order. Essentially, it tears down the Open Internet Order's rules that prohibit Internet service providers (ISPs) from site blocking and from providing preferential service to chosen edge providers. It does not overrule the transparency requirement, which says that ISPs must disclose their traffic management policies. If this federal court decision stands, it essentially means ISPs are allowed to block sites and provide preferential service to some edge providers, but if they do so, they must tell us all what they are doing.

The basis for this decision is important. The judges did not closely examine the pros and cons of Internet openness because that was not what the case was about. The complaint against the FCC is that it overstepped its jurisdiction and that it was not in fact legally entitled to make these rulings. The judges for the most part agreed with the complaint and struck down two significant rules that, in the eyes of the FCC, sought to preserve the "continued freedom and openness of the Internet."

The Wall Street Journal proclaims this decision as a "Victory for the Unfettered Internet." The New York Times, in contrast, describes this as a "Disappointing Internet Decision" on the grounds that it "could undermine the open nature of the Internet." Most vocal opinions are divided along these lines. They are all reading the same decision, but one group believes this will make the Internet more unfettered and open while the other believes the opposite.

Advocates on each side assert that they uphold the principle of an open and unfettered Internet, but their interpretations of what "open and unfettered" means in practice leads (or drives) them to conflicting conclusions. Since different takes on this concept help drive the debate, let's look at those perspectives to see what light they cast on the outcome.

Some people regard "open and unfettered" as meaning that governments should leave the Internet alone. That means no government censorship, no blocking of sites and no monitoring user activity. The traffic must flow unimpeded. Most participants in the U.S. debate would agree on this, so perhaps some meeting of the minds is possible? Not likely, because there is also an opinion that "open and unfettered" means no government regulation either. That means no control of pricing, no rules that specify in any way how ISPs deliver their parts of this immense global cooperative enterprise, and certainly no treating Internet access like a phone service.

To some others, "open and unfettered" means that the corporations that provide Internet services should themselves play by these rules. In other words, they too, just like governments, should refrain from censorship, blocking and tracking what users do (at least without consent of each user). If those companies do not allow traffic to flow unimpeded, then the Internet is in reality not open and unfettered.

Let's be clear that not everybody views a completely open and unfettered Internet as a good idea. Various governments around the world limit Internet access with various forms of site blocking, censorship, user tracking and traffic interception. Presumably the officials and politicians responsible for this believe that their individual varieties of fettering are a good thing, overall.

We also know that some Internet service providers engage in, or have engaged in, site blocking, port blocking and scrutiny of user activity, again presumably because decision makers in those companies and organizations see benefits to doing so.

Where do the various parties fall in the spectrum as a result of the recent ruling? And how will it impact the existing system? I'll get into that in Part II. In the meantime, check out our other thoughts on the latest technology trends for the coming year.

More Stories By Esmeralda Swartz

Esmeralda Swartz is CMO of MetraTech, now part of Ericsson. She has spent 15 years as a marketing, product management, and business development technology executive bringing disruptive technologies and companies to market. Esmeralda is responsible for go-to-market strategy and execution, product marketing, product management, business development and partner programs. Prior to MetraTech, Esmeralda was co-founder, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Lightwolf Technologies, a big data management startup. She was previously co-founder and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development of Soapstone Networks, a developer of OSS software, now part of Extreme Networks (Nasdaq:EXTR). At Avici Systems (Nasdaq:AVCI), Esmeralda was Vice President of Marketing for the networking pioneer from startup through its successful IPO. Early in her career, she was a Director at IDC, where she led the network consulting practice and worked with startup and leading software and hardware companies, and Wall Street clients on product and market strategies. Esmeralda holds a Bachelor of Science with a concentration in Marketing and International Business from Northeastern University.

You can view her other blogs at

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
As more intelligent IoT applications shift into gear, they’re merging into the ever-increasing traffic flow of the Internet. It won’t be long before we experience bottlenecks, as IoT traffic peaks during rush hours. Organizations that are unprepared will find themselves by the side of the road unable to cross back into the fast lane. As billions of new devices begin to communicate and exchange data – will your infrastructure be scalable enough to handle this new interconnected world?
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in high-performance, high-efficiency server, storage technology and green computing, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/Big Data, HPC and Embedded Systems worldwide. Supermi...
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, will discuss the impact of technology on identity. Should we federate, or not? How should identity be secured? Who owns the identity? How is identity ...
This week, the team assembled in NYC for @Cloud Expo 2015 and @ThingsExpo 2015. For the past four years, this has been a must-attend event for MetraTech. We were happy to once again join industry visionaries, colleagues, customers and even competitors to share and explore the ways in which the Internet of Things (IoT) will impact our industry. Over the course of the show, we discussed the types of challenges we will collectively need to solve to capitalize on the opportunity IoT presents.
Today’s connected world is moving from devices towards things, what this means is that by using increasingly low cost sensors embedded in devices we can create many new use cases. These span across use cases in cities, vehicles, home, offices, factories, retail environments, worksites, health, logistics, and health. These use cases rely on ubiquitous connectivity and generate massive amounts of data at scale. These technologies enable new business opportunities, ways to optimize and automate, along with new ways to engage with users.
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
Through WebRTC, audio and video communications are being embedded more easily than ever into applications, helping carriers, enterprises and independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to their end users. With today’s business world increasingly focused on outcomes, users’ growing calls for ease of use, and businesses craving smarter, tighter integration, what’s the next step in delivering a richer, more immersive experience? That richer, more fully integrated experience comes about through a Communications Platform as a Service which allows for messaging, screen sharing, video...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dyn, the worldwide leader in Internet Performance, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dyn is a cloud-based Internet Performance company. Dyn helps companies monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure for an exceptional end-user experience. Through a world-class network and unrivaled, objective intelligence into Internet conditions, Dyn ensures traffic gets delivered faster, safer, and more reliably than ever.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, will keynote at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal an...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
The IoT market is on track to hit $7.1 trillion in 2020. The reality is that only a handful of companies are ready for this massive demand. There are a lot of barriers, paint points, traps, and hidden roadblocks. How can we deal with these issues and challenges? The paradigm has changed. Old-style ad-hoc trial-and-error ways will certainly lead you to the dead end. What is mandatory is an overarching and adaptive approach to effectively handle the rapid changes and exponential growth.
There will be 20 billion IoT devices connected to the Internet soon. What if we could control these devices with our voice, mind, or gestures? What if we could teach these devices how to talk to each other? What if these devices could learn how to interact with us (and each other) to make our lives better? What if Jarvis was real? How can I gain these super powers? In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, will show you!
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of at least three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the backend big-data service, and the mobile application for the end user's controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/target - this makes the integration of these separate pipelines and the coordination of software upd...
As a company adopts a DevOps approach to software development, what are key things that both the Dev and Ops side of the business must keep in mind to ensure effective continuous delivery? In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Hydar, Head of DevOps, Ericsson TV Platforms, will share best practices and provide helpful tips for Ops teams to adopt an open line of communication with the development side of the house to ensure success between the two sides.
The IoT is upon us, but today’s databases, built on 30-year-old math, require multiple platforms to create a single solution. Data demands of the IoT require Big Data systems that can handle ingest, transactions and analytics concurrently adapting to varied situations as they occur, with speed at scale. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, chief strategy officer at Deep Information Sciences, will look differently at IoT data so enterprises can fully leverage their IoT potential. He’ll share tips on how to speed up business initiatives, harness Big Data and remain one step ahead by apply...
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, will explore the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi's VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context w...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.