Mobile Broadband Networks Can Manage Congestion While Abiding By Open Internet Principles

As the FCC considers whether and how to extend its Open Internet rules to mobile broadband networks, mobile carriers have asserted that mobile networks present unique traffic management challenges that would make network neutrality, particularly a non-discrimination rule, technically infeasible and incompatible with quality of service (QoS). Mobile carriers emphasize the need to dynamically manage often unpredictable congestion among users who move from cell to cell on a network that is inherently capacity-constrained.

This report examines these technical claims and concludes that Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology is capable of managing moderate congestion through prioritization protocols that are application-agnostic (e.g., user-directed prioritization) and which can, when faced with severe congestion, prioritize latency-sensitive traffic while avoiding discrimination among like applications, content, or services.

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Download our FCC ex parte filing

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Author:

Michael Calabrese is director of the Wireless Future Project, which is part of New America’s Open Technology Institute.