Internet service providers -- Rate of return, Internet service providers -- Profit, Right of property, Public goods -- Valuation
The internet is an interesting case, since it was created entirely with taxpayer's money by DARPA, while the world wide web was created at CERN in Switzerland and placed into the public domain voluntarily in 1993. The internet and web have many features of a commons, and many people refer to the "internet commons". Kubiszewski (pronounced cube- ih-shefski) explores the intricacies of the internet and world wide web to determine if internet companies are extracting economic rent from the public and how it could be recovered. She finds that companies are making a substantial profit by utilizing a resource that was developed by a collective whole and not through their own efforts. In particular, services of ISPs connecting people to the web should be subject to rent as well as the provision of web domain names. Kubiszewski determined that the average profit for Fortune 1000 companies is 7% and everything above that could be considered economic rent. She finds that economic rent from public telecoms to be $17 million, private ISPs to be $3.3 million, and domain names $9.3 million. Totaling up all the economic rent, we find that economic rent owed to Vermonters is approximately $30 million per year. Instead of dividing this money into equal dividend of about $50 per person, which promotes consumption and encourages the investment into private goods, the money would be placed into a trust with the primary purpose of supporting and furthering research and intellectual development in an open forum.
Kubiszewski, I. 2008. The Ownership of the Internet and the World Wide Web in Vermont. pp 30-35 in: G. Flomenhoft, A. Baehr (eds.), Valuing Common Assets for Public Finance in Vermont. MPA Program and Gund Institute, University of Vermont.