Network Neutrality on the Internet: A Two-Sided Market Analysis

24 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2011 Last revised: 29 Oct 2012

See all articles by Nicholas Economides

Nicholas Economides

New York University - Leonard N. Stern School of Business - Department of Economics

Joacim Tåg

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 9, 2011

Abstract

We discuss network neutrality regulation of the Internet in the context of a two-sided market model. Platforms sell broadband Internet access services to residential consumers and may set fees to content and application providers on the Internet. When access is monopolized, cross-group externalities (network effects) can give a rationale for network neutrality regulation (requiring zero fees to content providers): there exist parameter ranges for which network neutrality regulation increases the total surplus compared to the fully private optimum at which the monopoly platform imposes positive fees on content providers. However, for other parameter values, network neutrality regulation can decrease total surplus. Extending the model to a duopoly of residential broadband ISPs, we again find parameter values such that network neutrality regulation increases total surplus suggesting that network neutrality regulation could be warranted even when some competition is present.

Keywords: network neutrality, two-sided markets, Internet, monopoly, duopoly, regulation, discrimination, AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Google

JEL Classification: L1, D4, L12, L13, C63, D42, D43

Suggested Citation

Economides, Nicholas and Tåg, Joacim, Network Neutrality on the Internet: A Two-Sided Market Analysis (November 9, 2011). IFN Working Paper No. 727. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1750044 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1750044

Nicholas Economides

New York University - Leonard N. Stern School of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

44 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10012
United States
212-998-0864 (Phone)
212-995-4218 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/networks/

Joacim Tåg (Contact Author)

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

Box 55665
Grevgatan 34, 2nd floor
Stockholm, SE-102 15
Sweden

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