To date, the Internet has generated tremendous value through its “best-efforts” traffic delivery, but many of the exciting innovations around the corner, including those that rely on virtual reality and real-time cloud computing, will increasingly require reliable low-latency connections. While some applications affirmatively need prioritization or some kind of differentiation, other applications can easily tolerate delay or jitter. Indeed, these enhanced quality-of-service applications are anticipated to be a key component of 5G networks. Non-zero sum trade-offs around technical requirements of different types of applications are the only economical way to achieve radical improvements in perceived end-user performance, and have therefore been designed into specifications related to 5G.
BEREC should loosen the restrictions around paid prioritization recommended in its guidelines. The key is to achieve rules that protect best efforts delivery of traffic, allowing for competition to drive improvements in speed and other performance metrics, while also giving networks the space to innovate with new, dynamic services that go above and beyond basic broadband.