Top 3 Products & Services
Dated: Sep. 30, 2006
Disclaimer: Much of the information in this set of questions and answers was not thoroughly researched, and no guarantees are made as to its accuracy.
A few years ago, when I knew little about the Internet, I asked myself: "Why do I have to pay for an Internet connection? Why can't I just connect directly to the Net? And where would I connect to anyway, if I wanted to do that?" Well, here are some questions and answers about the nature of the Internet backbone.
Q. What is the Internet backbone?
A. It is a term referring to the largest and most important data connections on the Internet. The backbone is made up of very high-bandwidth connections and high-performance computers which serve solely to route data around on the Net.
Q. Who runs the Internet backbone?
A. There are several companies which run different parts of it, but the largest is UUnet. Other major backbone providers include Sprint, MCI and Intermedia (formerly known as Digital Express or Digex).
Q. Why can't I connect directly to the Internet backbone?
A. In theory, you can. However, it would be expensive, as you would first need to pay to have a fiber-optic cable routed to your house. Even after that, you would have to pay an Internet wholesale provider like UUnet for access.
Q. If only a few companies collectively own most of the major data pathways on the Internet, doesn't that mean that those companies pretty well own the Internet?
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My personal view is that your question and point is 110% valid. However, playing a devil's advocate...these companies are supposed to be very closely watched by various government agencies. But then again, a corporation's main concern is money, not the well being of society so anyone can draw thier own conclusions.