Earlier this month the FCC released the details of its decision to reclassify Internet services as a Title 2 regulated public service (copy of release can be found here:  http://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-releases-open-internet-order ).

We'll defer the political debate currently embroiling the telecommunications industry.  There is more than enough of that type rhetoric to go around.  Left leaning or Right leaning - there is bipartisan agreement this is the single most important piece of legislation affecting the telecommunications industry since the Telecommunication Act of 1996. 

Back in 1996 there was also the rhetoric around the politics of such a legislation.  Politics aside it was the catalyst to what became a sea change that created an entirely new set of industries.  Based on the concepts of IXC, ILEC/RBOC and CLEC the telecommunication boom occurred and with it unprecedented growth and opportunity.  The Y2K hangover aside the amount of industry and technology created was astounding. 

Of interest to this author is how large network operators will react to this new legislation and what it means for technology vendors. As was the case in 1996 some of the informed professionals predict a precipitous drop in technology investment as the industry tries to come to terms with the new rules. 

We beg to differ...

Suffering from a never ending glass-is-half-full approach we offer a pragmatic but optimistic perspective.  No matter the outcome of this legislation - and to whatever form the final legislation makes of this new regulation - one thing is clear - operators will need to now be prepared to show compliance with whatever those regulations end up being.

It does not matter to what degree compliance Title 2 regulation will require - the fact it now exists changes everything. 

Be Careful What You Ask For

The irony of it all, as the left leaning will learn, to insure operators are not violating the new privacy and net neutrality regulation operators will collect, store and report on more customer traffic data than ever before.  

To insure a subscriber’s privacy is protected the operator will need to collect everything.  

As a result there is going to be a boom in telecommunications investment around network heuristics and subscriber behavior that will drive capital investment in operator networks the world over.  Traffic sampling will be the exception and not the rule - much to the DPI industry’s excitement.  

The Opportunity

Initially DPI vendors will benefit but the reality is to to be 100% compliant the economics of a full DPI deployment can be a disaster to the operator.   There are new opportunities for operators who learn how to build out their subscriber reporting systems on technologies that are not DPI dependent. 

We would like to think the end result of this FCC legislation will be to create another broad rise in network investment and emergence of new technologies to benefit everyone.