A game-theoretic evaluation of an ISP business model in caching


Internet traffic volume is increasing and this causes scalability issues in content delivery. This problem can be addressed with different types of caching solutions. The incentives of different stakeholders to pay for these solutions are not known. However, it has been identified that Internet service providers (ISPs) need to be involved in the process of cache deployment due to their ownership of the network. This work evaluates a new business model where ISPs charge content providers (CPs) for a caching service because CPs benefit from more efficient content distribution. We provide conditions for sustainable paid in-network caching and their numerical evaluation in order to aid strategic decision-making by CPs, ISPs, and Cloud storage providers (CSPs). Although ISP caching as a paid service may not be an equilibrium, it turns out to be Pareto optimal at the right pricing. This encourages cooperation between CPs and ISPs. CSPs may choose cache friendly physical locations for their facilities in order to provide the necessary capacity to the ISPs. However, the required amounts are in all likelihood too small to be an incentive for the CSPs. ISP caching as a paid service can be an equilibrium when future benefits are considered and when the ISPs terminate caching-related improvements of service quality for clients who do not pay for caching.

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Fig. 1


  1. 1.

    Note that the game model could also be improved in other ways to make it more realistic. For example, the deployment of caching services takes some time, and thus the ISP first decides whether or not to deploy caching and after the caching system is up and running, the CP decides whether or not to pay for it. This could be modeled as a two-stage game but it would not change the fact that the CP has no incentive to pay for caching.


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Correspondence to Jörn Künsemöller.

Additional information

The work of J. Künsemöller is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the Research Training Group Automatisms and the Collaborative Research Center On-The-Fly Computing (SFB 901). The work of N. Zhang has been performed in the framework of the CELTIC-Plus project C2012/2-5 SIGMONA. The work of J. Soares is funded by the Portuguese Foundation of Science and Technology (No SFRH/BDE/51102/2010). K. Berg acknowledges the funding from Emil Aaltosen Säätiö through Post doc -pooli.

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Künsemöller, J., Zhang, N., Berg, K. et al. A game-theoretic evaluation of an ISP business model in caching. Inf Syst Front 19, 803–818 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10796-015-9619-5

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  • Caching
  • Business model
  • Cloud storage
  • Content distribution