The European Broadcast Union (EBU) met last week with European Commission President José Manuel Barroso to discuss the future of public service broadcasting in the era of TV Everywhere; focusing on issues such as spectrum allocation policy and network neutrality.
This gave the EBU the chance to emphasize its view that regulators should encourage an open Internet without barriers to entry for new operators and service providers, and perhaps highlight its dislike of traffic management.
As the EBU has pointed out on numerous occasions, traffic management has been implemented only because backhaul and core infrastructures have not expanded in capacity as quickly as access speeds. The EBU calls for urgent investment in infrastructure upgrades to close this gap, rather than relying on traffic management, which should be restricted to specific applications, such as to alleviate temporary congestion, or block unlawful content. It should never be used anti-competitively, the EBU insists.
Some Internet Service Providers have sidestepped such admonitions by cutting deals with specific content owners or broadcasters to deliver higher levels of service for their customers over dedicated links or Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), rather than discriminating against any particular source of traffic. This approach of creating a multiple-tier Internet is gaining ground, for example with BT in the UK, since it avoids use of traffic management to throttle specific content sources within a given service. In effect, traffic management may still be employed but only at the boundary of each service.