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Bandwidth-sipping IoT steers clear of net neutrality debate -- for now

Stephen Lawson | May 20, 2014
For now, the Internet of Things doesn't use enough network capacity to stir up arguments.

"AT&T has built its broadband business, both wired and wireless, on the principle of Internet openness. That is what our customers rightly expect, and it is what our company will continue to deliver," the company said in a written statement.

An opponent of paid priority said it isn't needed because there's enough bandwidth for all services now. Instead, ISPs have floated the idea, and fear of congestion, for their own benefit and profit, said Derek Turner, research director at the consumer advocacy group Free Press.

"The first thing you're going to see prioritized is the ISP's own affiliated content," such as video and voice calls, Turner said. Then the ISPs will sell priority to a few other companies with deep pockets, he said.

"If you break down the basic economic and engineering reality of this, this isn't about grandma's heart monitor," Turner said. "This is about the big ISPs who face very little competition tapping into an additional revenue stream."

Naturally, the picture could change if IoT in areas such as remote medical care grows more complex and demanding, said Ayla's Lee, a former researcher at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

"The future tends to happen a lot faster than we expect," Lee said.


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