Multiple Roles, Revenue Streams a Problem?

Some observers appear to believe it is somehow unethical or unsavory for an internet access provider to have multiple revenue streams, including simple access as well as content or application revenues.

It is an odd perspective, given that nearly all large contestants in the internet ecosystem now operate in multiple roles, and therefore have multiple revenue streams. Google operates in search, many other app roles, devices, connectivity and operating systems, for example.

Indeed, one might well note that some contestants have no option but to expand from their current roles, into new roles.

In 2015, connectivity represented perhaps 17 percent of internet ecosystem value. By 2020, connectivity might represent only about 14 percent of internet ecosystem value. In 2015, apps represented about 47 percent of internet ecosystem value. By 2020, apps might represent 52 percent of value.

That explains, simply, why connectivity providers constantly look for ways to move up the value chain, or “up the stack.” Value is shifting to apps, and away from simple connectivity. At the same time, profit margins generally are higher in apps and content.


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