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Network Neutrality, Access to Content and Online Advertising

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Abstract

We investigate the implications of Network Neutrality regulation for Internet fragmentation. We model a two-sided market, where Content Providers (CPs) and consumers interact through Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and CPs sell consumers' attention to advertisers. Under Network Neutrality, CPs can have their traffic delivered to consumers by ISPs for free, while in the Unregulated Regime they have to pay a (non-discriminatory) termination fee. In our model multiple impressions of an ad on a consumer are partially wasteful. Thus, equilibrium ad rates decrease when the audiences of CPs overlap. We show that universal distribution of content is always an equilibrium when Network Neutrality regulation is in place. In contrast, when competition among CPs strongly reduces their profits, in the Unregulated Regime ISPs can use termination fees to induce fragmentation and extract CPs' extra profits. This occurs when repeated impressions of an ad rapidly lose value and consumers care for content availability to a relatively small extent. Our results suggest that the Unregulated Regime is never superior to Network Neutrality from a consumer surplus and social welfare point of view.

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  • Antonio Russo & Anna D'Annunzio, 2013. "Network Neutrality, Access to Content and Online Advertising," KOF Working papers 13-344, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:13-344
    DOI: 10.3929/ethz-a-009996512
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    1. Frago Kourandi & Jan Krämer & Tommaso Valletti, 2015. "Net Neutrality, Exclusivity Contracts, and Internet Fragmentation," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 26(2), pages 320-338, June.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Network Neutrality; Two-sided markets; Internet; Advertising; Fragmentation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation

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