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Internationalizing the Internet

The Co-evolution of Influence and Technology

Brung-Keun Kim

This compelling book focuses on the global formation of the Internet system. It contests the common belief that the Internet’s adoption was inevitable and instead examines the social and economic processes that allowed to it to prevail over competing standards and methods for achieving a global information infrastructure.
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Chapter 5: The Evolution of the Internet System

Brung-Keun Kim


5.1 INTRODUCTION We have examined the history of the invention and development of the Internet system as the selection process of packet network technologies which was shaped by visions of inventors and different interests of social groups and countries. The major stakeholders, including the telecommunication, computer and Internet communities, competed with each other to achieve control over the direction of evolution of computer network technologies. The battles were shaped by political, economic and technological power relationships, mainly between the USA and European countries through their competition for technological leadership in newly converging communication and information technologies. This chapter examines how the Internet system emerged as the popular global data network from a network designed for military and academic research purposes in the USA. The evolution of the Internet system is analysed according to the model suggested by Hughes (1987). Its evolution can be divided into four different development phases: experimental period, Internet system building in the USA, global expansion and global Internet systems building. The governance and technological innovations during the experimental period and period of Internet system building in the USA were examined in Chapter 4. This chapter is devoted to the history of connecting national research networks in developed countries through the collaboration of the international academic communities. Sections 5.2 and 5.3 review and reconstruct historical accounts of Internet development with the aim of expanding on issues that are relevant to the internationalization of the Internet. In the USA, the establishment of a backbone network (NSFNET), with government...

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