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The internet is decentralised, self-regulating and has be-come increasingly driven by market forces. In contrast to the traditional telephone system, it is based on packet switching and has developed outside that system’s highly regulated structures. As it is based on the technical and commercial interactions between a myriad of internet service providers (ISPs), internet economics is like an ecosystem in which the behaviour of each ISP is shaped by the market forces of these interactions. The opportunity for direct policy inputs is therefore much lower, and the most meaningful interventions are those with commercial relevance. However there remain fierce debates over its level of inclusiveness and its overall effectiveness.

The global nature of the internet, and its growth outside of the control of governments, have meant that there is no international internet governing body. The closest thing to international internet governance is therefore comprised of technical bodies, ranging from the engineering side, such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), to other technical areas such as responsibility for allocating domain names (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers – ICANN), and IP addresses (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority – IANA), or organisations which set generally recognised standards such as W3C. statistics_theme_top_text

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