From Manuel Castells’s Communication Power, discussing the regulatory framework of the digital communication system:
“The impromptu evolution of Internet regulation and management parallels the serendipitous maturation of the Internet as the communication commons of the network society (Abbate, 1999; Castells, 2001; Movius, forthcoming). When first deployed in 1969, ARPANET, the predecessor of the Internet, was an experimental computer networking program originated in DARPA, the US Defense Department research agency, and largely run by the scientists and engineers who created it. In 1970, the Defense Department offered to transfer its operation and property ATT. After weighing the possibility for a few weeks, ATT did not see any commercial interest in ARPANET, and declined the offer (Abbate, 1999). Thanks to this monumental shortsightedness of ATT’s part, and to the inability of Microsoft to understand the significance of the Internet, the world became what it is today. So much for technological determinism.” (103)
As Todd Krohn would say, LOL. Also, thank FSM (or whichever imaginary friend one may believe in) for corporate incompetence.
Now, just for fun, imagine, if you will, an Internet completely designed and controlled by AT&T. Now, go have nightmares. You’re welcome.