Net Neutrality and Cloud Computing

Net Neutrality and Cloud Computing

Net Neutrality and Cloud Computing

The Internet revolution has been people powered from the very beginning, and should remain so. The minute that anyone, whether from government or the private sector, starts to control how people use the Internet, it is the beginning of the end of the Net as we know it.

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Net Neutrality and Internet (Source: Google)

Net Neutrality and Internet (Source: Google)

Advanced and open networks are essential to the future growth of the Web. Policies that continue to provide incentives for investment and innovation are a fundamental part of the debate we are now beginning.

In non-network neutrality world, the Internet will become tiered.

Not all vehicles created are the same, but all should be allowed on the Road. The same is true with Internet traffic.

With non-network neutrality, National highways with toll tax scenario will emerge as a pattern in Internet traffic. Thus 2 tiered networks will take place, fast and slow lane.

In this rapidly changing Internet ecosystem, elasticity in government policy is the key. Broadband network providers should have the flexibility to manage their networks. As long as they do it reasonably, consistent with their customers’ preferences, and don’t unreasonably discriminate in ways that either harm users or are anti-competitive.

The debate about Network Neutrality will undoubtedly prolong and for that, there is no easy right or wrong answer. Both sides make gripping arguments and yes, there is considerable disinformation on both sides of that issue.

Net Neutrality and Cloud Computing

Net Neutrality and Toll Gate (Source: Google)

Net Neutrality and Toll Gate (Source: Google)

In the near future we are going to find that a very large segment of computing usage will move from user organizations to “in the cloud”. This is going to make the usage volume of the Internet increase extraordinarily. We cannot predict exactly what users (consumers) and user organizations (businesses) will choose to do. Network neutrality, permitting them to do nearly anything, becomes much more important.

According to ZDnet the bandwidth demands generated by Cloud Computing are helping drive suppliers towards a 100 gigabit “sweet spot”. While costs are coming down, transmission charges are one of the main ways that Cloud Operators make their money. That pricing is in gigabytes, which implies a lot of data. Cloud computing and net neutrality are becoming key factors in forcing telcos to improve their core network bandwidth, according to an industry analyst.

In a nutshell, net neutrality proponents are arguing that the design and practices of the Internet should not allow any network intervention, prioritization, preference, or timing advantage of any bit over any other bit.

These proponents, in their definitions and actions, have not thought through the real world implications that a backward -looking policy has on the future of cloud-computing innovation on the Internet.

Let’s try to determine the scenario with example:

All computer OS operate with “prioritization of processing”, “Preemptive multitasking” and “Scheduling “.

All OS, even open source, must intervene, manage, prioritize and schedule computer processing. Applications are created considering the same features.

Under a strict net neutrality view, a computer operating system routinely is designed to not be “neutral” but give “preferential treatment” to one application over another. But not allowing prioritization would be ridiculous.

  • Computers must manage, prioritize and schedule to function.
  • It’s not unreasonable or immoral; it’s simply critical.

Finally, take this point to its logical extension, and net neutrality would block, degrade and impair the Internet’s evolution and innovation to “cloud computing,”

Logically, for cloud computing to work over a network, it will require network managers to manage, prioritize and schedule the network. Net neutrality would not allow cloud computing management, prioritization or scheduling.


The concept of allowing specific networks, especially wireless networks, to restrict or prioritize some traffic is a mammoth threat to the success of cloud computing. If provider networks are allowed to control traffic, they could give priority to the larger cloud computing vendors who write them a big check for the privilege. At the same time, smaller cloud computing upstarts who can’t afford the fee will have access to their offerings slowed noticeably, or perhaps not even allowed on the network at all.

Considering that most clouds are limited by bandwidth, the Google-Verizon proposal would have the effect of narrowing the playing field for cloud computing providers quickly. Businesses using pubic cloud computing will have fewer choices. Their costs will go up as these fees are passed onto cloud computing customers.

If what Google and Verizon are promoting becomes accepted as FCC policy or law, cloud computing will become more expensive, lower performing, and much less desirable. Moreover, the innovative aspect of cloud computing, which typically comes from very lean startups, is quickly removed from the market as the Internet toll roads go up.

Lack of net neutrality will baffle the cloud computing progress and is not good for infrastructure companies, application providers or consumers. The company building the road can’t demand that only its car will run on the road.

Another potential problem that cloud computing proponents are not willing to address is the related debate regarding net neutrality and how that could bring “the cloud” to a grinding halt for consumers that aren’t willing to pay premiums for bandwidth.

Google and Verizon

While Verizon has said it has no intention of selling bandwidth from the “public” network. It wants to make certain it could provide dedicated bandwidth-based services to third parties if it wanted to.

Instead AT&T and Verizon would simply like to offer content companies, such as Google and Movielink, virtual pipes directly to consumers over their broadband connections. It would allow these content companies to make sure users at home have a good experience accessing their content.

Cicconi said that trying to achieve the same level of quality for video over the public Internet would be too expensive, because it requires extra equipment and network resources. “If someone wants an equivalent level of service as what we provide, you have to provide them a dedicated service,” he said. “And we can’t do that for free.”

Verizon Wireless and Google announced a strategic partnership that will leverage the Verizon Wireless network and the Android open platform to deliver mobile applications, services and devices. Both companies view this agreement as an opportunity to offer consumers an array of products that combine the speed of the nation’s largest and most reliable 3G network with the flexibility of the Android mobile platform.

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2 Responses to Net Neutrality and Cloud Computing

  1. syd says:

    Very interesting futuristic ideas but I do not agree that this would be beginning of the end of the net. I think there still a large element of hype in this whole cloud equation.

  2. Pingback: AT&T’s plan to charge developers isn’t crazy – yet - Bacon On The Go | Bacon On The Go

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