Net neutrality ruling looks good so far, AICC says

Unknown specific details will tell the whole tale
Wednesday, March 11, 2015

WASHINGTON—The recent FCC ruling on net neutrality appears to give security professionals a “level playing field,” but it remains to be seen if it will fully satisfy the industry, according to Lou Fiore, chairman of AICC.

“For the services we use on the open Internet, it’s good news that our traffic will be unblocked and unthrottled; it won’t be slowed down. It’s mainly for video that we need the higher speeds,” Fiore told Security Systems News.

“The threat was the [Internet service] provider could have blocked our [security] traffic. We’d have to cut a deal with the company that wouldn’t have been available to us at the same price. Now we [seem to] have a level playing field,” Fiore said.

The FCC ruling reclassifies broadband as a utility under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. That means ensuring “a fast, fair and open Internet,” FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has said.

AICC and ESA, concerned about fair, reliable and accurate transmission of alarm data, had diligently lobbied the FCC to support net neutrality over the course of the issue’s lengthy discussion period.

Net neutrality is an open Web principle founded on the basic premise that governments and Internet service providers should treat all Internet traffic equally, avoiding discrimination on the basis of market factors or other technical characteristics.

In a letter written to the FCC on behalf of the industry, Fiore wrote: “To ensure the continued effectiveness of the alarm systems protecting millions of Americans, alarm data must be transmitted accurately and promptly from the end user premise to the central station along the entire communications path.”

In an email interview with SSN after the ruling he said, “The recent FCC order is 332 pages and [at the time of this interview] it has not been released.”

What is known is as follows, and Fiore said that AICC wholeheartedly agrees with these rules, which should ensure that alarm and video applications will “flow” over the Internet without disruption:

·      No blocking—broadband providers may not block access to legal content, applications, services or non-harmful devices.

·      No throttling—broadband providers may not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, applications, service or non-harmful devices.

·      No paid prioritization—broadband providers may not favor some lawful Internet traffic over other lawful traffic in exchange for consideration of any kind—in other words, no “fast lanes.”

“This rule also bans ISPs from prioritizing content and services of their affiliates,” Fiore said.

AICC is also pleased that wireless broadband is covered by the FCC order, he said.

“We constantly remind everyone that with few exceptions we are mainly small businesses and require these safeguards,” Fiore said.

“Further, because of our unique position requiring access to the communications channels of these providers, we are particularity dependent and vulnerable,” he said.

He is concerned, he said, about the wording in the initial FCC press release on the new ruling that refers to “specialized services.”

“The FCC actually gives the example of ‘dedicated heart-monitoring service.’ It might as well have mentioned security services. How these will be treated in the FCC order is of grave concern,” Fiore said.

AICC will be monitoring the ruling to further address the security industry’s concerns, he said.