The complex interplay of technical, economic, and user factors in the development of Internet services will shape the delivery of those services in the future. Designers of Internet services must take into account demand as they create the supply; people will not use Internet services that do not consider user needs and economic and regulatory constraints, no matter how advanced the technological design. In Internet Services, leading academic and industry researchers examine, from a variety of perspectives, the multiplicity of factors that affect the quality of services delivered across a "network of networks" that is outside the control of any one entity. Their analyses fill a gap in the existing literature; most technical books on the subject ignore economic issues and most economics books neglect technical factors.
After introducing key terms and debates and outlining pricing and technical fundamentals, contributors explore issues that affect Internet quality of service, including congestion, allocation strategies, and user influence. They then discuss the challenges of estimating user demand and understanding user behavior; a game theory approach elucidates the effect of pricing. They next consider alternatives to flat-rate pricing, with arguments against attempting to price quality of service, and the relationship of bandwidth commodity markets to quality of service concerns, exploring alternative e-business models. Finally, the contributors consider which access and interconnection policy issues may affect the advanced Internet services of the future. Clarifying the issues for a post-Internet bubble age, these analyses will be a valuable resource for scholars and the business community.
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Lee W. McKnight is Associate Professor in the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University.
John Wroclawski is a Research Scientist with the Advanced Network Architecture Group of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.
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