How network neutrality influences the mobile world

Innovative developments on the internet stimulate the  economy and the telecoms market

Network neutrality is a term that is used increasingly whenever the internet and future possibilities are discussed. But what is network neutrality exactly, and is it as good as it sounds? Network neutrality is the key phrase in the debate about the openness of the internet.

An open and free internet – who doesn’t want that?

A discussion about this is currently taking place in the Belgian parliament, in which the Belgian operators have taken a collective standpoint and clarified it.

The Belgian operators indicate that they wish to see an open and free internet that allows everyone to visit all services and websites and that gives everyone the possibility of offering new, innovative services and websites. With that, the Belgian operators have no intention of discriminating against the services offered by third parties (video, VoIP, Messenger and others) in favour of the services that they offer themselves. The real value of fixed and mobile networks lies in making the unlimited number of applications on the internet accessible to everyone.

The internet that best suits you

Consumers don’t all want the same things. Offering a uniform product will not promote prosperity. Operators already differentiate themselves, for example with the variety of tariff formulas aimed at specific target groups. Operators sometimes offer Facebook and other social media free of charge, or give unlimited access to the most popular websites. This is comparable with the special offers of free calls to the five most frequently used telephone numbers. Everyone seeks the mobile contract that is best suited to his/her needs. If you want to use Skype a lot, you need a better connection, otherwise your picture will freeze. In other words: a better connection at a higher price. Otherwise, we would all be paying for the requirements of a few. It’s thanks precisely to this differentiation that operators are able to meet the challenge of the transformation to a world of mobile data. We need to realise the mobile internet for everyone.

Leave the future open

The future of mobile data and the applications that will be possible in a few years are not yet known. Making the internet network-neutral will potentially block these applications before they have even been invented. Mobile e-health applications, for example, with which the heart rhythm is remotely monitored, should always have priority over other data flows. Other target groups are probably also keen to have priority, such as the rescue services. A strict network-neutrality straight jacket would make prioritisation impossible.

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