MWC2015: You can't have net neutrality AND driverless cars, CEOs warn

03 Mar 2015

Outdated regulation – especially net neutrality policies like the one recently announced in the US – will hinder the Internet of Things and other innovations coming down the mobile pipeline, telecom CEOs warned on Monday.

Vodafone chief Vittorio Colao said that customers do like the idea of net neutrality as long as no company on either side of the debate is blocked. But they also want upcoming services like ubiquitous seamless access, driverless cars, healthcare monitoring, and Amazon drones delivering purchases, among other things – not just because the convenience or cool factor, but also because of the employment opportunities they create.

“Those services can't be implemented in a net-neutrality environment,” Colao said during the morning keynotes at Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona. “Customers favor non-discrimination, but they also want services and technologies that enable a new future of employment.”

Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Hoettges made similar remarks during his keynote. “We’re in favor of net neutrality, but what happens when you’re in a driverless car and someone listens to Spotify? The car should be prioritized based on bandwidth needs. You need quality classes to enable the Internet of Things.”

Hoettges added that the FCC’s own net neutrality policy recognizes this. “When you listen to [FCC chairman Tom] Wheeler talk about his new policy, it sounds like no quality classes are allowed, but when you look at the details, you can see that Americans are actually anticipating quality classes and they’re not prohibitively avoiding them – at least as I understand it.”

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