Anti-competitive behaviour is inevitable without net neutrality

In its latest opinion ( article leading wholesale voice and data communications provider, Entanet, argues that Ed Vaizey’s recently announced support of Ofcom’s plans to step back from regulation to protect net neutrality will result in anti-competitive behaviour and a poor level of service for end users. Commenting on the news Entanet’s Head of Service Operations, Neil Watson, stated: “So basically the Government and Ofcom are planning to adopt a ‘let’s wait and see’ approach to net neutrality – waiting to see if anti-competitive behaviour will surface. I think I know the answer to that one already!”

He continues to explain the potential negative effects this decision could have on the industry, content providers and end users: “We continue to have grave concerns over potentially creating a two-tiered internet where the type of deal an ISP has struck with the largest content providers (e.g. YouTube, Google) will determine the level of service provided when customers try to use them. Where exactly will this leave the smaller market players? Smaller content providers or providers that decide not to pay the ISPs may find their services are delivered unfavourably (throttled) when compared to their larger rivals; and those that do pay may find the demands of hundreds of ISPs too great and be unable to cope financially. Consider content providers that offer popular free or low cost services such as YouTube, Facebook and Skype for example.

“On the other hand, smaller ISPs may not be able to arrange deals with the larger content providers, therefore not benefitting from the contributions to the cost of delivering their services and potentially making them uncompetitive in the market. In such a highly competitive market, how can such activities not create the anti-competitive behaviour that Ofcom and the government are so adamant won’t be a problem?”

He also argues that this behaviour will become “an obvious barrier to further innovation as new content providers attempt to enter the market and launch their services only to be swarmed by demands for payment in order to achieve optimum delivery by ISPs.”

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