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Who owns the international Internet networks?


This research examines who controls the international Internet using a multi-level network analysis. Internet provider (IP) address ownership data obtained from TeleGeography ( are used to describe the structure of the international network of private companies and Internet service providers (ISPs). The results indicate that 16 companies, headquartered in seven countries, are at the center of the network, each accounting for more than 1% of international Internet connections. Level 3 Communications, based in the United States, is at the center of the network. The United States is the most central nation in the ownership network. American corporations account for almost 40% of the international links. A cluster analysis found a single group centered about the United States. The ownership network is consistent with other measures of the international Internet network. Its structure replicates and maintains the global hierarchy as suggested by world system and globalization theory. Policy implications are discussed.

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