[e2e] It's all my fault

Tom Vest tvest at pch.net
Thu May 17 15:33:57 PDT 2007

On May 17, 2007, at 4:58 PM, Vadim Antonov wrote:

> On Thu, 17 May 2007, Greg Skinner wrote:
>> DARPA-funded research provided computing resources upon which email,
>> USENET, Unix, etc. were extended and popularized.
> DARPA didn't create those resources from the thin air. They took it  
> from
> somebody first. Your statement is an example of "What is seen and  
> what is
> not seen" fallacy.
> --vadim

Okay, what is seen:

The universe of telecom facilities was owned and operated through the  
vehicle of adjacent, non-overlapping territorial monopolies for at  
least 4-5 decades leading up to the 1970s -- either as the result of  
a market outcome (e.g., in the US), or of subsequent movers observing  
how things played out in the earliest telecom markets (e.g., in the  
US). That said, the raw inputs required for the Internet to emerge  
(telecom facilities, technology, clever people, etc.) were widely  
distributed throughout the world in the 1970s and 1980s. The same  
laws of physics that permitted T-carrier technology and 4ESS switches  
to work in the United States from 1975 on also applied everywhere  
else on Earth.

In the US alone, the advent of of the latter technologies was  
accompanied by regulatory changes (60 FCC 2D / 1976, which compelled  
the incumbent territorial facilities monopoly owner to sell T-1  
circuits to 3rd parties even when those parties intended to use them  
for commercial purposes) which made it possible for someone other  
than an incumbent facilities owner to provision telecom  
"infrastructure", manage it independently, and use it for any purpose  
that they saw fit. In the US alone, the incumbent facilities owner's  
efforts to squelch the "invidious bypass" that this new technology  
made possible (i.e., the Consumer Communications Reform Act of 1978,  
aka "the Bell Bill") were quashed.

Eventually -- sometimes many years later -- other regulatory  
jurisdictions followed a similar path, and the Internet started  
growing in those places as well. Eventually -- generally decades  
later -- in places where such changes never occur(red), some green  
field bypass telecom facilities (e.g., wireless) began to provide (at  
the moment, grossly inferior) options similar to those created by the  
aforementioned regulatory interventions. In the mean time, much of  
the Internet service that was available in the "unreconstructed"  
parts of the word arrived in the form of " service imports", i.e.,  
services provided by offshore operators based in one of the  
infrastructure-friendly jurisdictions.

Something else that is seen:

Empirical evidence supporting the story above is visible in the  
global distribution of autonomous systems (using the country code and/ 
or org fields to localize each to a particular country). Since ASes  
are tools for managing multihoming, and multihoming is only  
technically possible where telecom facilities are overlapping, or  
fungible (i.e., available in fractional bits and pieces as  
"infrastructure" that can be managed independently from the  
facilities provider), and available on commercially reasonable terms,  
this distribution makes perfect technical sense. Places with more  
ASes generally have more Internet users, devices etc., all things  
(population, GDP, geography, number of years providing Internet  
service, etc.) remaining equal.

What is unseen?


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