Body of Knowledge

UNESCO World Communication and Information Report 1999-2000 - Evolution of the Internet
by Robert E. Kahn

Most people around the world who encounter the Internet consider it to be a vibrant medium of exchange that supports a wide variety of uses, most of them commercial. Many also know that, having been created with support from the United States Government, Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) initially, and later the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Education (DOE) and other agencies and departments, the Internet has its roots in the research and development community. In recent years, the private sector has made extensive investments in building Internet capabilities, and its recent growth has been almost entirely fueled by such private sector initiatives. However, as recently as a decade ago, the Internet was still the private enclave of the research and education community. At that time, few in the telecommunications business believed that the private sector would come to play such a critical role in leading its continued development and that the Internet would come to play such a central role in the United States (and indeed the world's) economy in the short span of ten years. This article begins with a brief summary of the developments that led to the widespread availability of the Internet. Consideration will then be given to some of the key transition issues in moving the Internet from the province of United States Government control to the private sector. The need for effective management structures and standards will be highlighted, together with the need for continued awareness onthe part of governments concerning the Internet and its operation. Finally, some of the longer-term needs of the user community, as well as those of Internet service and equipment providers, in addressing the possibilities for the future, are discussed.

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Publication Type: Article / Chapter / Essay: 7 pages
Publisher: UNESCO (1999)
Location: Paris, France
Language: English
ISBN: 92-3-103611-4

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