NeTS: Small: Collaborative Research: Competition, Neutrality and Service Quality in Cellular Wireless Access

Project: Research project

Project Details


The network neutrality debate has raised many issues of fair competition, revenue generation, and the role of emerging technology. In the current public-commodity, data-networking marketplace, different competing Internet Service Providers (ISPs) presently have the option to act neutrally with respect to content and application-services from remote 'content providers' (CPs). Also, competition and cooperation issues not directly related to neutrality need to be addressed, e.g., roaming charges for small entrant cellular-wireless ISPs. These issues have direct bearing on availability and prices that ordinary consumers face. To better understand these important issues, this project aims to investigate models of competition and cooperation that integrate economic, regulatory and networking factors, particularly those of the still growing cellular-wireless context with its complex channel quality dynamics.

One research thrust is to assess if there are any real economic advantages for an ISP when acting non-neutrally for different models of interaction between ISPs and CPs. To this end, this project will jointly consider different types of cellular wireless data-plans typically involving some type of quota, subscription frameworks and advertising revenues of CPs, side-payments between ISPs and remote CPs manifest through service-level agreements at gateways to the (last-mile) ISP, and the physical-layer controls (e.g., transmission power) enacted by the ISP to service the wireless traffic according to different priorities and quality-of-service requirements. It will also consider the problem of promotion of competition between like providers to reduce consumer costs, particularly how to regulate roaming charges to encourage entrant cellular-wireless access providers. In addition, the project aims to investigate how best to leverage available types of real-world operational data, both econometric and workload (packet-traffic), to inform the investigators' models.

Effective start/end date10/1/159/30/19


  • National Science Foundation: $250,000.00


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