Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: William Schmarzo, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, John Basso

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 VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud, BUSS. She has spent 15 years as a marketing, product management, and business development technology executive bringing disruptive technologies and companies to market. Esmeralda was CMO of MetraTech, now part of Ericsson. At MetraTech, Esmeralda was responsible for go-to-market strategy and execution for enterprise and SaaS products, 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 resource and service control software, now part of Extreme Networks.

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
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
It’s 2016: buildings are smart, connected and the IoT is fundamentally altering how control and operating systems work and speak to each other. Platforms across the enterprise are networked via inexpensive sensors to collect massive amounts of data for analytics, information management, and insights that can be used to continuously improve operations. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Chemel, Co-Founder and CTO of Digital Lumens, will explore: The benefits sensor-networked systems bring to ...
SYS-CON Events announced today the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp, being held November 1-2, 2016, in conjunction with 19th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but with hands-on demos and detailed walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of real world use cases prototyped using Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark, and Intel Edison. Y...
Large scale deployments present unique planning challenges, system commissioning hurdles between IT and OT and demand careful system hand-off orchestration. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Smith, Senior Director and a founding member of Incenergy, will discuss some of the key tactics to ensure delivery success based on his experience of the last two years deploying Industrial IoT systems across four continents.
Much of IT terminology is often misused and misapplied. Modernization and transformation are two such terms. They are often used interchangeably even though they mean different things and have very different connotations. Indeed, it is somewhat safe to assume that in IT any transformative effort is likely to also have a modernizing effect, and thus, we can see these as levels of improvement efforts. However, many businesses are being led to believe if they don’t transform now they risk becoming ...
Identity is in everything and customers are looking to their providers to ensure the security of their identities, transactions and data. With the increased reliance on cloud-based services, service providers must build security and trust into their offerings, adding value to customers and improving the user experience. Making identity, security and privacy easy for customers provides a unique advantage over the competition.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
"Tintri was started in 2008 with the express purpose of building a storage appliance that is ideal for virtualized environments. We support a lot of different hypervisor platforms from VMware to OpenStack to Hyper-V," explained Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? You need to discover patterns that are repeatable in vast quantities of data, understand their meaning, and implement scalable monitoring across multiple data streams in order to monetize the discoveries and insights. Motif discovery and deep learning platforms are emerging to visualize sensor data, to search for patterns and to build application that can monitor real time streams efficiently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, ...
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device.
The IETF draft standard for M2M certificates is a security solution specifically designed for the demanding needs of IoT/M2M applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Romansky, VP of Strategic Technology at TrustPoint Innovation, explained how M2M certificates can efficiently enable confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity on highly constrained devices.
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.