Monday, December 28, 2015

Will Reliance Jio Content Services be "Managed" or "Internet" Services? Why it Matters

As part of its effort to position itself as a “digital content” provider, not a mobile service provider, Reliance Jio has planned to emphasize video streaming and other content-related services.

To make that positioning work, Reliance Jio has planned to sell content that includes use of the bandwidth to consume it, on the model of cable TV services or the delivery of Amazon book content to mobile data-equipped readers without a separate mobile data charge.

In present beta tests with employees, Reliance Jio is giving “employees access to numerous applications for free,” including Jio Beats (a music app), Jio Drive (a cloud service to store digital content), and Jio Play (entertainment app) featuring movies, for example.

One wonders whether a storm of controversy (unwarranted, some will argue, as has been the case of opposition to Free Basics) will erupt over the practice of allowing “no extra charge” access to content.

Much could hinge on whether the content access is a managed service (such as over the air broadcasting or cable TV) or an Internet service.

Presumably, a managed service would not be subject to network neutrality rules. So it matters which course is taken.

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