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News recap: FCC defends net neutrality vote

In telecom news, FCC Chair Tom Wheeler testified in defense of the commission's net neutrality vote, while Cisco expanded its networking portfolio capabilities.

This week in telecom news, the Federal Communications Commission testified before a U.S. House committee to defend its net neutrality vote and address regulation concerns. Meanwhile, Cisco has expanded its service provider networking portfolio to help providers meet the growing demands of Internet users.

Online television providers are looking to bypass the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC's) ban on fast lanes by developing specialized services deals with Internet service providers. Global Capacity and Google have developed a cloud partnership to let the interconnection provider connect customers to Google's cloud platform.

FCC says net neutrality won't lead to rate regulation

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler testified at the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology to defend the agency's net neutrality vote.

Republican members of the telecom subcommittee focused on the possibility that the net neutrality rules could lead to the FCC regulating broadband rates. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, a Republican, said the rules open the door to anyone challenging a rate deemed unreasonable.

Wheeler said he hopes someone files a complaint, as it would create a process that would "make it very clear that the FCC is not in the consumer rate regulation business." He added that the rules would not prevent service providers from creating multiple rates based on usage.

Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Oregon) had harsh words for the FCC, saying regulators worked "behind closed doors with the president to bypass the administrative process" and that the commission was carried away by "politically generated populist furor."

Wheeler said he expects service providers to raise legal challenges of net neutrality. "The big dogs have promised they're going to do it, and I take them at their word," he said.

Cisco expands programmable networking portfolio

Cisco has expanded its service provider networking portfolio by integrating its programmability, virtualization and orchestration capabilities into the portfolio to help service providers increase service agility and profitability in delivering new services to customers.

The portfolio now has Cisco Application Engineered Routing, Cisco IOS XRv 9000 Virtual Router and high-density 100 GbE line cards for the Cisco ASR 9000 series.

According to a global forecast from Cisco, global IP traffic is expected to increase threefold through 2018 at a 21% compound annual growth rate. The growth is attributed to an increasing number of Internet users and devices, faster broadband speeds and increased video usage.

Cisco's Application Engineered Routing provides end-to-end control over how network infrastructure transports applications and helps service providers to reduce operations costs with on-demand latency, bandwidth and availability capabilities. The virtual router enables delivery of on-demand services to quickly respond to customer requests and trial on-demand solutions. Cisco's 100 GbE cards support Cisco silicon photonic CPAK technology and enable each 100 GbE port to be configured based on customer requirements.

Content providers look for fast lanes loophole

Online television providers may be looking to get around net neutrality rules and be treated as "specialized services" for fast-lane access to the Internet.

According to the Wall Street Journal, HBO, Showtime and Sony have been speaking with ISPs asking to be treated as specialized services and be separated from other Internet traffic. While the new net neutrality rules prohibit fast lanes, there is an exception for services like VoIP and heart monitors that don't provide wide access to the Internet.

The FCC has a broad definition of specialized services and says it has the authority to stop services if they become problematic. The potential for these deals, especially if they are paid, presents a net neutrality concern because other video streaming services like Netflix could find themselves in a position where they need to pay ISPs in order to compete.

The Journal reported that most ISPs are not interested in specialized services. Comcast has reportedly told Sony and HBO that it couldn't agree to such an arrangement unless it could be offered to all video providers in order to avoid regulatory issues.

Global Capacity makes Google cloud partnership

Connectivity-as-a-service provider Global Capacity has joined the Google Cloud Interconnect program and will be able to connect its 20,000 business customers to the Google Cloud Platform through its One Marketplace platform.

Organizations can use the One Marketplace platform to design, price and order data connectivity between business locations and Google Cloud Platform locations. One Marketplace's direct Ethernet interconnection can be used to connect to any Google Cloud Platform service, including Google Compute Engine, Google Cloud Storage and Google BigQuery. The platform provides flexible bandwidth and offers connections ranging from 1 Mbps to 10 Gbps to ensure network reliability.

"Google approved One Marketplace as part of a small group of Google Cloud Interconnect service providers, underscoring the innovation Global Capacity and One Marketplace have brought to the data connectivity and cloud market," Ben Edmond, Chief Revenue Officer of Global Capacity, said in a statement. "Global Capacity will continue to transform the process of consuming network connectivity in support for Google's continued innovation in the market."

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