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The Netherlands is one of the most advanced countries in the world in its use of FTTH and competitive broadband. The Dutch government is also paying attention to investment in infrastructure that can pay economic dividends across multiple sectors.

This was well described lats week in an exchange on my private Economics of IP Networks mail list involving Hendrik Rood who is a Senior Research Fellow at Economics of Infrastructures section at Delft University and member of Stratix Consulting.

Bob Frankston asked: Is it more efficient to have a video network or to have one that doesn’t require a billing relationship in order for my heart monitor to report my distress?

Hendrik replied: May I point you this Website. It shows an already existing example of the point you want to make> It is both two-way Video, alarms and controls up to heart monitoring at home.

The site is in Dutch, it shows a project developed by a major Health Care insurer, a home care provider and KPN (our telephony incumbent).

They have also put up an explanatory video with inteviews , also in Dutch, but it gives you quite an impression of what they do.

In addition to a remote controlled camera they can provide several diagnostic devices, like blood pressure, weight-, SpO2-meters and ECG-equipment. They link alarm and monitoring systems, a remote controlled video camera and the TV receiver connected to a special settop box (Telesense) that hooks up to a dedicated DSL connection and links to a 24 hour available health care center with nursery staff.

Your billing relationship with the telco is simply running via your health care insurer. The telco has set up a dedicated broadband service to assure sufficient Quality of Service, run the IT in a high-availability datacenter and linked the health care monitoring center with dedicated Ethernet over fiber links.

What you seem to miss, is I think that you point of traffic payments in this type of applications is entirely futile when concerning the total cost of operations for the entire applications. However the prime reasons they have installed entirely dedicated infrastructure today (quality control and availability guarantees) is also exactly the reason why an operator in the future, providing both commodity internet services and these types of services, might want to buy systems as developed by Anagran and its ilk. [Cook’s Edge: Routers that enable tarffic shaping - in this case flow control - come in for a hard time on my list.]

Could you explain to me what point is wrong?

Why shouldn’t a health care institute, an insurer and a telco (only 3 parties) team up to set this up and provide it as a service to patients? It is far easier in cost to organize it from the center out, than trying to put the onus on the consumer side.

I deliberately put this example up, as it effectively shows why the Net Neutrality debate is so off the mark. In this set up it is obvious that the operator who runs the network receives the payments from the parties running the applications, in this case the health care institute and the health care insurer and is not paid directly by the consumers for their broadband link.

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