The Internet as Infrastructure

Christian Sandvig

in The Oxford Handbook of Internet Studies

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199589074
Published online March 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management

The Internet as Infrastructure

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This chapter discusses how useful it can be to view the Internet as an infrastructure, demonstrating how technical changes of the infrastructure can have unanticipated and unintended societal consequences. The Libyan decision induced substantial dismay in the Internet industry. The case of Violet Blue entails technical decisions about the design of interactive software, usability, culture, religion, history, politics, and economics. Moreover, the infrastructure studies of the Internet are outlined as the relationists and the new materialists. The Internet turns out as an infrastructural primitive or template for its parents: a model privately organized system of distributed computation – the ur-infrastructure. Communication in its original meaning was transportation, a box of goods was said to be ‘communicated’ when it was delivered. It is observed that the Internet demands attention as a foundation for modern life.

Keywords: infrastructure; Internet industry; Libyan decision; Violet Blue; relationists; communication; modern life

Article.  10264 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Knowledge Management ; Business Ethics

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