A multi-tiered Internet concept, net neutrality, and pricing issues
In order to make big content providers like Google, Facebook, or Hollywood pay the fee for using the telecom infrastructure to reach their customers (and earning fortunes), the operators propose introducing ‘the business tier’ of the Internet, i.e. special services with a quality of service beyond best effort which is today’s Internet standard. To maintain an open Internet, they argue, the business tier would run in parallel with the ‘economic tier’, i.e. the Internet as we know it, which would remain unchanged and based on the principle of best efforts.
Proposals on a multi-tier Internet have been at the heart of discussions on net neutrality for years. ETNO has been pushing this idea together with other major operators around the world. The business tier has also been proposed, in the form of ‘additional online services’, by Verizon and Google in their Legislative Framework Proposal for an Open Internet in 2010.
Opposition from the Internet communities has always been loud and clear. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), in its analysis of the Google-Verizon proposal, pointed that the proposed ‘additional online services ... could be the exception that swallows the nondiscrimination rule’.