After having introduced the main definitions of the Internet in the first chapter and after having explored how we can talk about the Internet from a sociological, technological and economic point of view, we have come to a definition of the Internet as an industry in its own right. Taking up this last point, in fact, we have provided a model in which five stratified levels have been proposed that represent the main drivers of the LIIF framework.
Each level is connected with the adjacent one which represents a continuum between the parts rather than a clear distinction of the models.
The layers introduced in the LIIF framework are therefore distinguished according to this scheme:
- Infrastructure layer, the layer that includes the producers of equipment and materials necessary for the Internet infrastructure, the operators involved in the creation and management of the infrastructure, that is, all the technological infrastructure platforms that support the Internet;
- Access layer, the layer that includes the operators that provide access (ISP), producers of internet enabled devices, producers of operating systems and connection software, that is, all internet access platforms;
- IT layer, the layer that includes software producers for web development, applications for internet commerce, online content management systems (CMS), that is, all basic Internet software platforms;
- Intermediary layer, the layer that includes operators that intermediate technology and online services, such as search engines, payment intermediaries, platforms enabling transactions between sellers and buyers, online advertising platforms, i.e. all Internet intermediation platforms ;
- Content layer, the layer that includes operators who offer content and sell products and services, i.e. all the content platforms of the Internet.
In this chapter the distinctive characteristics of each of the above mentioned layers are analyzed