Telenor, Norways biggest ISP and telecom operator, wants to charge media companies to transport their videos to Telenors broadband users. This is being reported today in the financial newspaper Dagens Næringsliv. This would apply to Norwegian media companies such as Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) and VG, the biggest newspaper, but also international media companies such as Google/Youtube and CNN.
Telenor predicts that data traffic will increase tenfold from what was the case in 2010 to 2015 as Norwegians increasingly use smartphones, laptops and tablets to watch streamed web videos and live tv.
- We have to adjust our infratsructure to manage uncontrollable traffic levels. That means that we have to over-invest in infrastructure to be on the safe side. Unless media companies start paying for traffic, customers will have to pick up the bill, or only the big ISPs with financial muscle will survive, CTO Rolv-Erik Spilling in Telenor tells Dagens Næringsliv.
Net neutrality threatened, and a remedy
This is a very good example of how to threaten net neutrality. Telenor wants to charge big media to guarantee that their content is delivered when the users want it, whereas those not willing to pay will ruthlessy be pushed into the slow lane. Telenors ISP operations make their money by selling broadband subscriptions to users. The users pay for good connections because they want to be able to enjoy all kinds of services, including video and tv. The media companies that have been interviewed for the article quoted above say that they will refuse to pay.
This case is an example that the Internet and the idea behind the Internet are starting to struggle, in part thanks to bandwidth consuming services such as video streaming. A good solution to help the situation is to start combining the Internet with broadcasting technologies such as DMB, DAB and DAB+. Then all live TV and radio will be broadcast to devices, something that will take a lot of strain off the Internet whilst improving quality of service to everyone. And possibly eliminating Telenors unreasonable demand of having media companies pay for this data traffic.
In order to make devices capable of supporting broadcasting, a broadcasting receiver/chipset must be built in or added through a USB port. This has already been done in a wide variety of devices in Korea and Japan. Such a chipset measures typically less than 3x3 milimeters in size, consumes 20-60mW and costs around one dollar. The first tablets and phones supporting DMB, DAB and DAB+ will reach European, South East Asian and Australian markets in 2011 .
I have previously covered this subject matter in this blog post:
Why Telecom Operators Should Love, Not Loathe Broadcasting.
I have also explained why the combination of the Internet and broadcasting is the future:
Why the Internet Won't Solve Everything.
Combination is the new king.