What do Internet providers care about?
October 2nd, 2012 by David Bradley >> No Comments
A rhetorical question obviously: What do Internet Service Providers (ISPs) care about? Well, they’re companies, they care about profits. Period. But, Peter Jones and Daphne Comfort of the Business School at the University of Gloucestershire and David Hillier of the University of Glamorgan, UK, wanted to find out whether there was also some corporate social responsibility, among the UK’s leading ISPs at least.
Fundamentally, the team found that all the ISPs analyzed provided some information on a range of CSR commitments and achievements in the marketplace, the workplace and the community. Those companies also provide information on their environmental agenda although there is considerable variation in the extent of that information. Given the recent furore regarding energy-consumption by cloud services and mobile devices and data centers, this issue is at the forefront of the eco debate once more.
“The internet is a very powerful communications media and while it offers a wide and constantly expanding range of services and facilities it also generates a number of problems,” the team says. They point out that this media hinges on the ISPs’ role in supplying consumers with digital access, of course. They also found that while the majority of the UK’s top ISPs publicly report some of the impacts their businesses have on society and the environment and indeed how they are addressing these issues, when it comes down to it, their approach to corporate social responsibility is essentially driven as much by business imperatives as by any real concern for environmental, or social issues.
In other words, that rhetorical question about what do ISPs care about most? The inevitable and obvious answer is that they care mostly about their businesses and ultimately about the bottom line. Would you have been surprised to hear a different answer? Maybe it’s time for a new business model, a community-led, open model to emerge. Any takers?
Jones, P., Comfort, D., Hillier, D. & (2012). Corporate social responsibility and the UK’s leading internet service providers, World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, 8 (3) 318. DOI:
The top ten UK Internet Service Providers cited in the paper by Jones et al.