Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Coming Soon To An Internet Near You

It was 1879, and investor Charles A. Sumner sat at his desk, frustration pouring onto the page through his ink pen. Sumner, business partner to the radical economist and journalist Henry George, was finishing the concluding passages of a book about what had happened to the telegraph, or the Victorian Internet, as one historian calls it.

"This glorious invention was vouchsafed to mankind," he wrote, "that we might salute and converse with one another respectively stationed at remote and isolated points for a nominal sum."

But instead, he continued, "A wicked monopoly has seized hold of this beneficent capacity and design, and made it tributary, by exorbitant tariffs, to a most miserly and despicable greed."

Ars Technica has a really interesting article by Matthew Lasar about the history of the telegraph and the lessons we should have learned from not balancing the market with government regulation. Read it and then take a look at network neutrality issues.

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