Conventional wisdom—particularly in the legal literatures—suggests that competition reigns the inside of the internet. This common understanding has shaped regulatory approaches to questions of network security and competition policy among service providers. But the original research presented here undermines that long-held assumption. Where the markets for internet traffic exchange (and related services) have long been thought to be characterized by robust competition among various network services providers, our findings suggest that these markets have consolidated. These trends raise a host of concerns for network reliability, online speech, and consumer choice, among other matters. Indeed, some recent high-profile internet outages reflect some of these concerns. And so we consider how the internet’s regulatory infrastructure might respond to these new revelations about the internet’s interior network infrastructure. Specifically, we call for regulation to enhance visibility of the internet’s interior and to assure a regime of fair carriage for all the internet’s users.
Nick Merrill & Tejas N. Narechania, Inside the Internet, 73 Duke Law Journal Online 35-76 (2023)