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Internet Benefits

Consumer Surplus and Net Neutrality

This policy brief describes how a weakening of the principle of network neutrality might impact the Web. Based on an analysis of Internet usage, it finds that Internet infrastructure and content work together to generate huge economic benefits for consumers—possibly as much as $5,686 per user, per year.

While end-user access has been revolutionized over the last decade, the backend network that delivers content has been changing as well. Behind the scenes, new technologies have had far-reaching consequences for people who use the Internet and the companies that cater to them. But not all technological advances have been beneficial. One, which has allowed Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) to change how they deliver content to consumers, has threatened “network neutrality,” the status quo in which all content that travels across the Internet is treated equally.