A Broadband Access Market Framework: Towards Consumer Service Level Agreements
Author(s)Lehr, William; McKnight, Lee
Ubiquitous broadband access is considered by many to be necessary for the Internet to realize its full potential. But there is no generally accepted definition of what constitutes broadband access. Furthermore, there is only limited understanding of how the quality of end-to-end broadband Internet services might be assured in today?s nascent multi-service, multi-provider environment. The absence of generally accepted and standardized service definitions and mechanisms for assuring service quality is a significant barrier to competitive broadband access markets. In the business data services market and in the core of the Internet, this problem has been addressed, in part, by increased reliance on Service Level Agreements (SLAs). These SLAs provide a mechanism for service providers and customers to flexibly specify the quality of service (QoS) that will be delivered. When used in conjunction with the new standards-based technical solutions for implementing QoS, these SLAs are helping to facilitate the development of robust wholesale markets for backbone transport services and content delivery services for commercial customers. The emergence of bandwidth traders, brokers, and exchanges provide an institutional and market-based framework to support effective competition.