From the New York Times, Open Networking Foundation Pursues New Standards:
The intelligence in the original Internet was meant to reside largely at the end points of the network — the computers — while the specialized routing computers were relatively dumb post offices of various size, mainly confined to reading addresses and transferring packets of data to adjacent systems.
But these days, when cloud computing means a lot of the information is stored and processed on computers out on the network, there is growing need for more intelligent control systems to orchestrate the behavior of thousands of routing machines. It will make it possible, for example, for managers of large networks to program their network to prioritize certain types of data, perhaps to ensure quality of service or to add security to certain portions of a network.
The OpenFlow standards project also happens meets the anti net neutrality goals of allowing network carriers to control the internet and thereby control what you see quickly and what you see slowly (or not all, if you give up because the throughput speed is slowed to a site), based on what the carriers can charge content providers and sweetheart deals for their content partners.
The OpenFlow project is being pushed by the Open Networking Foundation, a collection of (you guessed it) big global corporations deciding open standards that have the (intentional or non-intentional) result of nuking net neutrality. If you recall, the December 2010 FCC decision on net neutrality extended neutrality to landline internet, not mobile. This landline only focus was a compromise pushed by Google and other large corporations with a financial interest in controlling the internet.
You also have to believe Google and phone carriers intentionally came up with this “compromise” of no net neutrality for mobile based upon what Mary Meeker said, at a Google event no less, in April 2010:
Meeker says that mobile Internet usage is ramping up substantially faster than desktop Internet usage did, a view she and her team arrived at by comparing the adoption rates of iPhone/iPod touch to that of AOL and Netscape in the early 1990s. According to Meeker, adoption of the Apple devices is taking place more than 11 times faster that of AOL, and several times as fast as that of Netscape. Helping to drive this is 3G technology, which Morgan Stanley says recently hit an “inflection point” by being available to more than 20 percent of the world’s cellular users (although penetration is only 7 percent in Central/South America and 13 percent in Asia/Pacific — excluding Japan, where it’s 96 percent).
Put another way, the fix is in. Unless the FCC reverses itself and imposes net neutrality on the mobile internet, the combination of the OpenFlow initiative (which creates the tools) with the majority of users on the internet with their phones (and non-desktop computers) will give carriers power over the internet. In the US, at least, giant corporations will determine how content flows and, consequently, will have the potential to disadvantage startups and others who lack money to pay the carriers for high speed delivery.
Yes, the FCC decision says the FCC will monitor anti-consumer behavior in the delivery of mobile internet. However, that only means mild regulation when Democrats control the White House and even then, since FCC terms can span presidencies, and corporations have money to spend on lobbyists, there will be little regulation or accountability for these corporations, regardless of political parties. For years the FCC has represented and pushed the interests of the industry it is supposed to regulate. The latest example of this bias? Former FCC head, Michael Powell (the son of General Powell, and another example of nepotism for a member of the lucky sperm club), recently took the top job at the cable industry association he regulated, the National Cable & Television Association.
If you want to know what this brave new world will look like, ask yourself how many internet startups have been created by AT&T, Cablevision, Verizon, and other carriers? That’s right, none, zero. Only a truly free and open internet guarantees innovation and the human potential of this technology. Giant corporations are incapable of creating economic value like eBay, Google, Amazon, WordPress, and other initiatives. And imagine if these startups had to pay big bucks just to get premium high speed delivery to end users.
Perhaps it is not a surprise, but the New York Times article, by their Silicon Valley reporter, fails to connect these dots. Or present this initiative in any light but triumphal (as in, “technology will make the world a better place for you and me!”). In this case, “open standards” clearly has the potential if not the intent of allowing corporate control over the internet. That should be part of this news story.
Indeed, when anyone tells you we have effective net neutrality for landline internet that can be expanded to mobile, the OpenFlow project and similar efforts give lie to the possibility mobile internet can be neutral. With tools, lobbyists, and endless pots of money to elect friendly politicians, the US internet at least will be under corporate control within the next 5-10 years.