Vodafone: Net neutrality won't work without second network

Vodafone said it doesn't believe network neutrality will be successful in the wireless world without a second network.

According to David Leftley, head of technology economics with Vodafone Group's R&D, a second network is needed to provide an alternative, intelligent Internet that can prioritize the content it carries. The solution Leftley proposes is an IPX, and is already being developed by mobile operators. The IPX will include a number of private, global IP backbones designed to guarantee quality of service when users connected to different mobile operators communicate with one other.

Leftley, speaking at the Wireless World Research Forum in Stockholm this week, believes that is the way operators can monetize traffic running over their networks. "There are the network neutralists who believe we just build an infinite capacity network, as big as you can. Bandwidth is infinite, the carrier has no differentiation, and all content has infinite value. The application provider, on the whole, ignores the carrier. There is no value exchange, so I don't see how that can work," he said.

France Telecom said it saw a future with two types of networks as well, where one is a best-effort network and one offers support for quality-of-service guarantees.

The GSM Association said the first IPX network should come to fruition next year, making it possible for operators and content providers to receive "a fair commercial return for their work."

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