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Despite the occasional headline-grabbing calls for an “Internet tax” to govern relations between ISPs and content providers, such initiatives are unlikely to be successful. Instead, the future of the Internet will be characterized by a multiplicity of commercial and technological arrangements for managing the crucial content delivery chain.
- Several ongoing developments – including changes to the nature of online content and the way it’s consumed – continue to transform the relationships between the networks that comprise the Internet’s ecosystem. One of the biggest transformations is the emergence of new commercial and technological dynamics between local access operators and large content providers and CDNs.
The next five to 10 years will see the spread of several new arrangements for managing the relationship between ISPs and content providers/CDNs. These will include the use of bandwidth-management strategies, content caching and delivery technologies and, in some cases, paid settlement. The use of “priority lanes” could also emerge as a way for local access operators to reserve network capacity for content providers willing to pay for it.
Meanwhile, given their importance to traffic delivery and distribution strategies, large content providers and CDNs will steadily expand their use of Internet exchange facilities worldwide. As the Internet traffic they exchange with other networks continues to grow, content providers and CDNs such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Netflix will seek to harness the various benefits of Internet exchange points (IXPs). These include using IXPs as locations for caching online content and storing it closer to end users. Large content distributors, such as Google and Akamai, will also support the establishment of new IXPs in emerging regions, especially Africa.
How will this research help you
- Navigate the evolving business models and emerging operator strategies for delivering online content
- Understand the cost and performance benefits of local Internet traffic exchange
- Assess the potential for supporting the launch of new Internet exchange facilities
- Recognize the opportunities in new forms of collaboration between local access operators and content providers/CDNs.
- Understand why calls for an “Internet tax” are unlikely to be successful