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Two-tier Internet inevitable

 Analyst firm says segmentation of Internet will enable service providers to differentiate on price, connection speed; special interest networks to emerge.

Capgemini this week said it believes the adoption of a two-tier Internet is inevitable, as surging broadband traffic will drive ISPs to offering differing levels of service and pricing.

“We will eventually see another IP network,” said Greg Jacobsen, global sector leader of Capgemini’s TME activities. “We will see one network for academics, another one for commercial services, and another focused on special interests,” he explained to Total Telecom during Mobile World Congress on Wednesday.

Jacobsen’s prediction flies in the face of network neutrality advocates who want to see laws passed ensuring that all Internet traffic is treated equally by ISPs. The issue is a particularly hot topic in the U.S., where the FCC in late December passed rules that prevent players from discriminating between different types of Web traffic.

However, Jacobsen said treating all Internet traffic the same isn’t necessarily serve everyone’s best interests.

“There will be one physical infrastructure, but there needs to be an understanding that different communities by the nature of their usage will need different levels of service and different pricing structures,” he said.

Jacobsen commented that he expects ISPs will begin offering tiered data plans that alter connection speeds depending on the time of day, the level of traffic on the network, and/or the price paid by the end user.

“Tariffs will most likely reflect the time and nature of use,” he said, commenting that a Web user that likes to stream video content during a peak time on Saturday morning might one day end up paying more for their connection than someone sending a few emails during that same period of time.

“This is when deep packet inspection – which is seen as a dirty term – becomes important,” added.

“We will also see different types of operators,” Jacobsen continued. “We’ll see segmentation from full-service operators to special interest operators that focus on providing access to particular kinds of services.”

Originally posted at: http://www.totaltele.com/view.aspx?ID=462702&mail=455

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