Nokia boss smashes net neutrality activists

Slow lanes for all means the ambulance waits too

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MWC 2015 Nokia's CEO has ridiculed the idea of a one-speed “neutral” internet, arguing that some IP packets are simply more important than others.

Connected cars, for example, will need near-instant response times if they are to avoid accidents, said Rajeev Suri, speaking to media and analysts at the Mobile World Congress, Barcelona.

Cisco, Nokia, Ericsson and Huawei have been building sophisticated networks for decades, but are worried that ill-informed political activism could keep the internet in the Stone Age.

Suri cited healthcare as another field that needs critical real-time video performance – which requires low latency and low jitter – but multi-speed delivery is nevertheless verboten under some conceptions of “net neutrality”.

Indeed, some activists say any packet discrimination should be outlawed.

“It’s the free speech issue of our era,” said former comedian Al Franken – now a Democrat senator – and the president agreed. The FCC is expected to introduce highly prescriptive rules for packet delivery, having seized the authority to regulate data services for itself last week, in a 3-2 vote.

The technical press here in Barcelona tends to have a greater understanding that networks can be fair and open yet vitally need packet discrimination, while the consumer press here sees a simple moral issue before it: Neutrality – whatever that is – is good, while Neutrality opponents are evil.

For more on the technical issues, see here. ®

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