Mendoza School of Business

Traffic jams, ISPs and net neutrality

Published: November 13, 2011 / Author: Dr. Dame

The following article on the net neutrality debate was co-authored by Management Professor Hong Guo. To read the entire article visit: Traffic jams, ISPs and net neutrality

In the net neutrality debate, Internet Service Providers like AT&T and Verizon, have said they need to charge content providers for prioritization so they can invest in improving infrastructure: faster internet service for all, they say.

But placing a price on prioritizing content creates an inherent disincentive to expand infrastructure. ISPs would profit from a congested Internet in which some content providers will be more than willing to pay an additional fee for faster delivery to users. Content providers like the New York Times and Google would have little choice but to fork it over to get their information to end users. But end users would be unlikely to see the promised upgrades in speed. Those are some of the results of research we conducted on the Internet market.

Despite the fierce back-and-forth on net neutrality, there is a surprising lack of rigorous economic analysis on the topic. To change that, we built a game-theoretic economic model to address this question: Do ISPs have more incentive to expand their infrastructure capacity when net neutrality is abolished?


Topics: Mendoza