Freeing the Web: What if website owners picked up the bill for consumers to get access to the Internet? Researchers Hong Guo of Notre Dame University’s Mendoza College of Business and Hsing Kenneth Cheng and Subhajyoti Bandyopadhyay of the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business Administration found there would be pros and cons to letting Internet service providers (ISPs), such as Comcast (CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (TWC), and AT&T (T), which would prefer the change, charge websites instead of individuals. They analyzed all possible scenarios using game theory, creating mathematical models of conflict and cooperation among parties. The team found that ISPs would receive extra revenue, which would allow them to offer cheaper or even free Internet service to consumers, while at the same time the new system could suppress website creation and would reduce incentives to improve speed and reliability. The study, “Net Neutrality, Broadband Market Coverage, and Innovation at the Edge” appeared in the February 2012 issue of Decision Sciences.
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