Who Runs the Internet: Internet Consolidation and Control

The panel examines the risks of consolidation throughout the internet’s technology stack such as the impact on complex supply chains that support applications, including cloud provisions, ‘as a service’.

Research event Recording
10 December 2019 — 6:00PM TO 7:15PM
Chatham House, London

In recent years, there has been a growing debate around the influence of a few large internet technology companies on the internet’s infrastructure and over the popular applications and social media platforms that we use every day.

The internet which was once widely viewed as a collective platform for limitless, permissionless innovation, competition and growth, is now increasingly viewed as a consolidated environment dominated by a few. Such market dominance threatens to undermine the internet’s fundamental benefits as a distributed network in which no single entity has control.

The panel explores the potential benefits, for example, when building out essential infrastructure to support faster and cheaper internet services in developing economies, consolidation can create economies of scale that bring the resource-intensive building blocks of the internet economy within the reach of new start-ups and innovators.

The panel provides an interdisciplinary perspective exploring the relationship between consolidation and evolutions in the internet infrastructure as well as unpacking its policy implications.

This event supports a special issue of the Journal of Cyber Policy as part of a collaboration between Chatham House and the Internet Society which explores the impact of the consolidation on the internet’s fundamental architecture.


Andrew Sullivan, President and CEO, Internet Society
Jennifer Cobbe, Research Associate, Department of Computer Science and Technology, University of Cambridge
Jesse Sowell, Assistant Professor, Department of International Affairs, Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University
Chair: Emily Taylor, Associate Fellow, International Security, Chatham House, Editor, Journal of Cyber Policy

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