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Nokia CEO hits out at net neutrality activists

Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri has hit out at net neutrality advocates, claiming that some IP packets are more important than others.

At Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress this week, Suri used the examples of the health care and automotive industries as areas where high speed Internet access is crucial.

Read more: Obama finally enters net neutrality debate: Will he do more harm than good?

Although different levels of Internet speed is forbidden under net neutrality laws, the Nokia chief explained that high levels of latency and packet loss could have devastating consequences for connected cars and the medical profession.

"There are some services that simply require a different level of connectivity," says Suri. "You need this differentiated quality of service."

The Register reports that companies such as Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia itself have been constructing advanced networks for years, but net neutrality activism could hinder their adoption.

Although often polarised, the net neutrality debate is actually a hugely complicated issue.

A number of Internet giants like Twitter and Google have had their say on the debate and rightly argue that the end of net neutrality could see companies and consumers faced with additional charges for an Internet “fast lane.” US President Barack Obama has also offered his support to the equal web campaign, and the FCC is now set to introduce new packet delivery rules to protect network fairness.

However, the words of Nokia boss Rajeev Suri are certainly not without merit. The Internet protocol document RFC 791, for example which dates back to 1981, already indicates that packet discrimination is part and parcel of the Internet.

Low latency is far more important for video streaming than it is for displaying text, and with the number of connected devices set to rise, the issue of whether some connections are more important than others is only going to get worse.

Read more: The FCC’s votes on Net Neutrality are in

It seems that even with the recent FCC ruling, the net neutrality debate isn’t going away.

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.