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The "Internet Fast Lane": For More Than Video Buses?

May 13, 2014 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by Tom Nolle / No Jitter

It's pretty clear now that we're entering a new age of Net Neutrality where the FCC's position is much more focused, even forgiving.

While the new rules aren't published yet, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has made it pretty clear that these new rules will not prohibit provider-pays models of QoS or settlement for QoS among ISPs. That could certainly mean the potential for higher-quality video (at a price) but it could also mean that higher-QoS Internet service could become available for other kinds of traffic, and that, in particular, businesses might be able to use the Internet for things they now have to use business VPN services to support. What might the "fast lane" do for business users?

One obvious benefit would be for video collaboration or simple video meetings. Today, high-quality video requires private networking facilities that are so expensive that for anything but regular use, costs would be prohibitive. Since most video use is extemporaneous, a video-QoS model for the Internet could revolutionize video collaboration.

This revolution might be at the expense of not only the providers of business VPN services, but the providers of high-end videoconference tools. Even today, some surveys show that Internet videoconferencing generates ten times or more the number of conferencing hours as high-end systems, even if you factor in the larger number of participants per room in the latter.

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