Last year, the Internet Society published a comprehensive study to better understand the forces of change that will shape the Internet over the next five to seven years: The 2017 Global Internet Report: Paths to Our Digital Future. By focusing attention on the significant potential of the Internet for innovation and sustainable development, but without denying or shirking the challenges it also introduces, the 2017 report has become a powerful tool in the global awareness and advocacy work of the Internet Society and its chapters.
We now want to work with you as our most important stakeholders on a new report that takes a closer look at one of those forces and how it may impact the future, namely Consolidation in the Internet Economy. Understood as growing forces of concentration, vertical and horizontal integration, and fewer opportunities for market entry and competition, this topic includes the impact of consolidating forces on all stakeholders as well as on the Internet’s underlying and evolving technology.
We have selected this theme because findings from last year’s report, and developments since its release, indicated increasing concerns about a growing concentration of power in the Internet Economy. They point to market and technical forces that may be driving consolidation at different ‘layers’ of the Internet, from traffic to communications providers to applications, as well as processes of vertical integration that allows for some companies to own the user experience at every stage and in an increasingly wide range of human activity. As users experience the Internet through a smaller number of providers, for example, there is the potential to restrict our access, choice and future ability to innovate. On the other hand, consolidation is not a new phenomena, but can be expected as markets and industries mature. To some, it is an evolution foremost characterized by lower prices and better services available to more people.
Today we are launching a survey (also in French and Spanish) seeking your input on this perceived trend of consolidation. Tell us your perspective; how it might be affecting you and your community, and what you foresee for the future of the Internet in the next five years. The survey will be open until June 29th.
Read 2018 Global Internet Report concept note and take the survey before June 29th. The survey is also available in French and Spanish. For more information about 2017 Report, please visit our Paths to Our Digital Future site.