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Chapter 4 - The Internet and Telecommunications


The Internet has been and will continually be compared to the evolution of America through the construction of railroads and highways. As America grew, the nation’s cities and towns were connected by first the railroad and then by highways. Commerce and people moved using these main forms of transportation. Towns that were not connected to these main transportation arteries died out or their population significantly decreased. Information, people, and goods traveled along these physical routes. What impact will the Internet have upon these traditional transportation methods? Firms that are not connected to the Internet will have a difficult time competing and connecting to their clients.

The social considerations of this vast array of people communicating from across the world on any subject are revolutionary. Many of us remember the “iron curtain” that precluded communication between the East and the West. This curtain could never exist in today’s technological society. It would be pierced by countless communications between people on both sides of the curtain. Censored disclosure of information to people would be nonexistent. With this constant and far reaching communication instantaneously between people of the world, what will be the result?

“Transport of the mails, transport of the human voice, transport of flickering pictures-in this century as in others, our highest accomplishments still have the single aim of bringing men together.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900–1944), French aviator, writer. Wind, Sand, and Stars, ch. 3 (published in Terre des Hommes, 1939).

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