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Who Controls the Internet? Internet Service Providers and Their Interdependent Directors

Fri, May 22, 13:30 to 14:45, Caribe Hilton, San Geronimo Ballroom A


This paper explores the academic and professional ties between 153 corporate directors from 17 international Internet Service Providers (ISPs) headquartered in the United States using social network analysis. It examines the executives’ affiliate relations through their shared universities, board membership, and organizational employment. From a resource dependence framework, these ties are used to compare the interdependence of the international ISP network and their director’s academic and corporate affiliates. The results indicate that Comcast and Zayo are the two most central international ISPs. Of the external affiliates, the US Navy and elite academic institutions, especially Harvard, were central. AT&T was weakly central in the ISP network but highly central in the affiliate network. Limitations and future research suggestions are discussed.


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