Overall Objectives
Scientific Foundations
Application Domains
New Results
Contracts and Grants with Industry
Other Grants and Activities

Section: New Results

Interdisciplinary study of the Internet access and of Network Neutrality

Participants : Eitan Altman, Manjesh Hanawal, Julio Rojas-Mora, Sulan Wong.

Since 2008, E. Altman has been developing and leading an interdisciplinary working group (with specialists in networking, economy and law) on the theme "Shaping Internet access: technological and socio-economic implications". [69] -[30] are among the fruits of this work. In these papers, S. Wong, E. Altman and J. Rojas-Mora examine the role of the Internet in the society as well as of the access to the Internet, not only from the technological point of view but also from the socio-economic side and as reflected by legislation and by court decisions.

Immediately after the announcement of the French public consultation on Net Neutrality in April 2010, this working group started (i) preparing a response to the consultation, and (ii) analyzing the major problems and issues that arise in network neutrality with the help of simplified mathematical models. The results of this work include

There is one particular economic issue that is at the heart of the conflict over network neutrality which concerns the relationships between ISPs and content providers. The network is non-neutral whenever ISPs wish to favor one content provider over another one (have exclusive agreement, or whenever they wish to charge content providers for shipping content to the internauts – in addition to the price that ISPs already charge the internauts for their access).

In [36] , E. Altman, J. Rojas-Mora and S. Wong, in cooperation with P. Bernhard (Comore , Inria ), S. Caron (ENS Ulm) and G. Kesidis (Pennsylvania State Univ.), study the implications of being non-neutral and of charging the content providers (CP). Using non-cooperative game theoretic tools, they showed that if one provider, say the Internet service providers (ISP), has the power to impose payments on the other providers (the content provider), and to decide how much they should pay, the internauts suffer, but also the ISPs performance degrades. More precisely, they show that the only possible equilibrium would be characterized by prices that will induce zero demand from the internauts. This phenomenon does not occur if the price that one provider is requested to pay to the other is fixed by some regulator.

In [35] , E. Altman and M. Hanawal in cooperation with R. Sundaresan (IISc, Bangalore) examine the effect of collusion, where an ISP and one or several CPs act as a cartel in setting prices. They derive the equilibrium prices and quantify the gains for the ISPs of having exclusive agreements with a CP.

In [42] , E. Altman, S. Caron (ENS Ulm) and G. Kesidis (Pennsylvania State Univ.), explore the effects of content-specific (i.e. not application neutral) pricing, including multiple CPs providing different types of content. They also consider competition among multiple providers of the same type, including different models consumer stickiness (inertia or loyalty).


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