I was paying attention when the internet was first developing in the west, here in Canada in particular. I think that the history of the internet is largely ignored by those who are developing connectivity for the developing world. But ignored, at the risk of going off in the completely wrong direction.
The internet is all about "nodes". A node is a knot between strands, a place where many lines come together. In a computer network, it's a point of interconnection, where two data lines cross. What happens in the node, is that the data intermingles and doubles. Data that enters a node can exit in any direction, or in all directions at once. Practically speaking, if you are in the West there are internet nodes all around you. Especially in the early days of the internet, universities had many nodes. My uncle ran the internet node at a Canadian university for many years in the 80s. Today, the nodes at universities remain, but there are many other nodes. Most ISPs have nodes, where they connect to two types of lines, called peering lines and transit lines. Peering lines connect to other equally important nodes, while transit lines connect to larger nodes. There are super-nodes in most of the biggest cities of the world. They are often in the form of an Internet Exchange Point. The power behind the internet is in interconnections. The names give it away. The World Wide Web is called a web where each page is a node, with lines of hyperlinks going to other pages, criss-crossing each other. Look at a picture of the internet like these: <http://research.lumeta.com/ches/map/gallery/isp-ss.gif> <http://www.thinkgeek.com/images/products/front/lg-internet-poster- black.gif> or this one: <http://www.hpcc.gov/fnc/internet.jpg> This one is by far the most interesting but it takes work to understand. It's worthwhile IMO. It plots a large circle around the equator. Inside the circle, the closer to the center a node is, the more "perfectly" interconnected it is. You can trace each node out to the edge to see what continent it is in (written in small letters around the edge). <http://www.computer.org/internet/v5n1/ascore/> The most central nodes are, by axiom the most important! Every country has a "local internet". The local internet is the sum of the nodes that reside inside the country. As long as data moves withiin the local internet, all of the benefits and any payments are also local. As the local internet grows, the ability of people locally, to "peer" instead of "pay" with other parts of the internet grows as well. The benefits of buliding local nodes are immediate. You don't need to wait, check out the success stories of the few African IXPs that have launched so far (Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and others). For starters the people who are connected through an IXP save a LOT of money and that means lower prices and/or better service passed on to the users. So ... connectivity is not the right goal. The goal should be, what are you doing to build the LOCAL internet. Not just to connect people but to interconnect them by creating internet nodes? simon ------------ This DOT-COM Discussion is funded by the dot-ORG USAID Cooperative Agreement, and hosted by GKD. http://www.dot-com-alliance.org provides more information. To post a message, send it to: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> To subscribe or unsubscribe, send a message to: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>. In the 1st line of the message type: subscribe gkd OR type: unsubscribe gkd For the GKD database, with past messages: http://www.GKDknowledge.org