Business & Information Systems Engineering

, Volume 57, Issue 5, pp 325–338 | Cite as

When ‘Just’ is Just Not Enough

Why Consumers Do Not Appreciate Non-Neutral Internet Access Services
  • Jan Krämer
  • Lukas Wiewiorra
Research Paper


Although Internet service providers (ISPs) are technically capable as well as legally allowed to offer non-neutral Internet access services, where the data flows of customers who pay a premium are prioritized over others, such an access service is currently not offered by ISPs. We argue that ISPs are hesitant to tap the price discrimination potential of prioritized Internet access services, because in the context of the ongoing public debate on net neutrality (NN), their customers would consider such differentiation unjust. In a representative survey among German Internet access customers, we find that the customers’ perceptions of justice as well as the framing of the mechanism by which prioritized Internet access is provided are indeed decisive for whether customers would prefer this access regime over NN. In particular, we find that perceptions of distributive and procedural justice influence customers’ choice for non-neutral Internet access. Moreover, customers are more likely to accept a regime that offers an absolute rather than a relative prioritization of data flows.


Internet access service Net neutrality Quality of service Congestion Pricing Justice Fairness 



The authors wish to thank participants of the Telecommunications Policy Research Conference 2012, as well as participants of the Workshop on Information Systems and Economics 2012 for valuable comments. Financial support through the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft via Graduate School GRK 895 is gratefully acknowledged.

Supplementary material

12599_2015_398_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (814 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 814 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PassauPassauGermany
  2. 2.Goethe University FrankfurtFrankfurt am MainGermany

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