The FCC's net neutrality decision last month that imposed stricter regulations on Internet Service Providers, under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, has networking companies opposing each other even more fiercely than usual.
The industry is split, though not evenly, between those that support the idea of stricter ISP regulation, re-imposing stricter net neutrality standards and treating the service providers more as public utilities, and those that oppose the measures.
There aren't many networking heavyweights in this camp, but the most notable ones are heavy indeed: Microsoft and Google are staunch supporters of net neutrality regulation, and have been for some time. Both companies signed a letter last year protesting a proposed FCC rule that would have weakened, rather than strengthened, net neutrality requirements.
Microsoft, increasingly, depends on the public Internet to deliver products like Office365 and its array of cloud services. Google, of course, exists almost entirely online, so regulations that would ensure that its services remain broadly accessible are a positive thing for the company.
Cisco, Brocade, Juniper and Alcatel are all opponents, as are Intel and IBM. All those companies have made public statements opposing "utility-style" regulation for ISPs. It's not difficult to find reasons why, either -- carrier networking equipment vendors like Cisco play up their traffic shaping and QoS capabilities, so stricter rules about what ISPs are not allowed to do in that regard might wind up being bad for business.
ON THE SIDELINES
A surprising number of companies, particularly those that make network management products, simply wouldn't state a preference when asked by Network World. Riverbed, A10, and VMware all refused to say one way or the other, while Citrix and HP did not respond to requests for comment.
One reason why may be that both the pro- and anti-Title II camps have big, influential names in them, so it might seem unwise to oppose either.