Influence by Few Players Impacts Innovation, Interoperability, Regulation and Resiliency
SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 27 February 2019 - The Internet Society (ISOC), a global non-profit dedicated to
ensuring the open development, evolution, and use of the Internet, today
released the "2019 Global Internet Report
-- Consolidation in the Internet Economy." The report notes the growing influence of a few powerful players in
the Internet economy, and it explores what that could mean for the future of
digital communications, connectivity and commerce.
The fact that a few corporations dominate large parts of the
Internet is not news. From the dominance of Facebook in social messaging, Google in
search, and Amazon in online shopping, the largest Internet platforms are
capturing fundamental human interactions.
These industry giants already dominate the web and other Internet
applications, and are expanding into new service and content areas as they work
to retain existing customers and fuel revenue growth.
report will help policymakers and other decision-makers understand that digital
consolidation involves a complex set of issues, and that responses to
consolidation will affect different layers of the Internet. Responding to
consolidation trends in one field without considering how these trends echo and
reverberate in other fields or layers could lead to unintended and damaging
consequences for the Internet and economic development.
report is the beginning of a conversation about consolidation and concentration
in the Internet economy. It is tempting to reach for simplistic answers about
the Internet's future, but the analysis show the questions surrounding these
trends are more complex, and hasty interventions to consolidation trends could
lead to unintended consequences and harm for the Internet and its users.
A consolidated Internet, with power
concentrated in the hands of a few, could stifle innovation or lead to issues
affecting a disproportionate number of users.
However, concentration is not always bad. For example, feature-rich
cloud platforms enable businesses of all sizes to enter new markets and operate
at speeds and scale not otherwise possible. The scale of large players means
that when they embrace important new technologies like IPv6, it can affect the
But there are also risks when a small group of
large players has so much control, the report adds. These include:
- the potential for more limited choice in the marketplace
- the lack of platform diversity may create significant economic
dependencies, including the risk that companies will become too big to fail
- the impact on interoperability and standardization
- regulatory responses to consolidation that may have unintended
consequences to the global Internet
As a result, the report suggests, key
stakeholders need to assess how best to address industry concentration as it
relates to customer choice, interoperability, regulation, and resiliency.
"This Global Internet Report tells us that the
Internet Society has a great deal of work to do," said Internet Society
President and CEO Andrew Sullivan. "We must understand what concentration and
consolidation on the Internet mean, both for its architecture and for the wider
society that depends on it. We must understand what is really happening to the
Internet in order to ensure that we build the Internet for everyone."
The Internet Society will continue its efforts
to learn more about consolidation and its implications for the Internet
including funding for research and a collaboration with Chatham House
on a special issue of the Journal of Cyber Policy.
About the Internet Society
by Internet pioneers, the Internet Society (ISOC) is a non-profit organization
dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution, and use of the Internet.
Working through a global community of chapters and members, the Internet
Society collaborates with a broad range of groups to promote the technologies
that keep the Internet safe and secure and advocates for policies that enable universal
access. The Internet Society is also the organizational home of the Internet Engineering Task Force
more information visit www.internetsociety.org.