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CCIA and Incompas Warn Against Slicing Loophole in Net Neutrality Rules

The Computer & Communications Industry Association and Incompas told the FCC they support allowing broadband internet access to “monetize networks in new ways through the use of non-BIAS services,” including network slicing. But the rules shouldn’t create a loophole that…

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benefits only some companies, they said. The treatment of slicing has emerged as a large issue as the agency moves closer to an expected vote on new rules (see 2403290057). “How the Commission addresses non-BIAS data services in the Order is one of the most critical issues in this proceeding,” said a joint filing posted Monday in docket 23-320: “As currently proposed -- without expanded guidance and clarity-- the rule could create a large loophole that undercuts the FCC’s otherwise strong open internet rules.” Free Press raised concerns in meetings with an aide to FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “The forthcoming order would benefit by stating explicitly that supposed non-BIAS data services may not be used to evade the rules and the order’s conduct standards,” Free Press said. CTIA, meanwhile, explained to the FCC why network slicing is important and should be protected from regulation under proposed net neutrality rules. The filing adds detail to comments the group offered last week (see 403290042). “Network slicing is a technology that can provide innovative, virtualized wireless offerings targeted to users’ needs and is just emerging in the U.S.,” said a filing posted Monday in docket 23-320. “Network slicing will allow wireless providers to offer over a single physical network a series of virtual networks configured to satisfy different use cases -- including those that benefit from low latency, low jitter, high speeds, or heightened security, as well as those that can tolerate lower speeds, more jitter, or more delay than a typical [broadband internet access service] offering,” CTIA said. Use cases are still emerging and may include public-safety communications, robotic surgery, smart grids and other infrastructure, and communications at crowded events, the group said. Slicing also improves spectrum management, the group explained, allowing carriers to “manage finite spectrum resources more efficiently,” and can enhance network security and privacy “by isolating traffic in its own network slice, so that data and traffic cannot be intercepted or faked by entities of another network slice.”