Fears of a "less neutral" Internet are stemming from thriving content delivery networks (CDN) and the use of traffic-management techniques, according to Informa Telecoms & Media.
Research revealed that revenue from CDN services will triple by 2017, reaching $4.63 billion, and global CDN traffic will experience a fivefold increase.
These numbers indicate the market's success, but the deployment of network-based CDNs by telecom operators is causing some apprehension; companies that prioritize content delivery could cost the Internet its neutrality.
According to Chris Drake, a senior analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, a "plethora" of businesses and organizations requiring an online presence purchase CDN services. These include broadcasters and social networking sites, software and gaming companies, e-commerce firms, financial services institutions and government, and educational and public sector bodies.
Businesses requiring these CDN services use the feared techniques of traffic prioritization to help alleviate problems with network congestion, packet loss and traffic delay, according to Drake.
These kinds of traffic-management techniques actually benefit broadband customers by blocking harmful or illegal traffic, such as spam, Drake added.
"The Internet is already subject to extensive use of a wide array of traffic-management techniques by network operators," he said. " ... Without them, end-users simply wouldn't receive the standard of online experience they've come to expect."