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We examine whether wireless ISPs should be able to legally limit the applications used on wireless devices. The analysis is based on wireless network architecture and communications law. We review how wired and wireless networks differ in traffic management, and conclude that wireless networks require stronger traffic management than wired networks at and below the network layer. We review communications law, and conclude that ISPs should be prohibited from giving themselves an unfair competitive edge. We examine three scenarios of how applications may be restricted, and find that none guarantees a level playing field between ISPs and application providers while allowing ISPs to reasonably manage network resources. We propose regulations that limit an ISP's ability to restrict applications by requiring an open interface between network and transport layers. We illustrate how ISPs may deploy QoS within such a regulatory framework, and how this proposed policy can achieve the goals.
Date of Conference: 28-31 March 2011