Who actually owns the internet? And why do we have to pay to use it?
I'm asking this because in my journey of finding all things to be self sufficient, how exactly can you be self sufficient with access to the world wide web? Everyone has to pay for a connection one way or another. Don't they?
There are several 'free' ways to access the internet. Local libraries, coffee shops, and in some cases, whole cities, provide free internet access. So, if you're savvy enough, you could use it without ever having to pay a service provider. But it does put you at the whim of slow connections and hours of operation. It is 'easier' to just pay for it. But, nobody really owns the internet, they can only own specific servers, providers and websites. Though that hasn't stopped companies from trying, which is why we have an ongoing battle over net neutrality. It's the service providers who want to regulate what parts of the internet get all the bandwidth.
Thanks for that. I've just been wondering lately like why do we pay to access it. And why can't we build our own servers?
It is possible to own/run your own servers. Though I'm sure there are costs floating around there somewhere, if you want to make it available to everyone.
The Internet is a series of connected servers with shortcuts to each other (shortcuts called domains). Many companies not only can, but do, build their own little private Internets between their own servers.
When you pay for access to the public Internet, you are really paying multiple people. Comcast Cable may offer you a cable modem to their local data center. That Comcast data center may tie into a larger Co-location data center. At that data center, Comcast is leasing the connection off of that data center company. That data center company may be leasing it off another company (For example, Level 3 Communication). This is how a "Internet Backbone" is created. The companies that built these backbones laid massive cable in the ground and in the ocean to connect different countries. They then leave it to others to build the "last mile" technologies.
Currently the internet consists of these 7 "vertebrae": Level 3 Communications, TeliaSonera International Carrier, CenturyLink, Vodafone, Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T Corporation.
The internet itself is like a network of private roads connecting stores.
We pay to use the roads, owned and maintained by phone companies or cell phone service providers.
We may get content for free from some venues in return for adds, pay for other content via pay walls or subscriptions to sites and services. Other sites are set up by businesses in the hope of selling goods and services.
No one person or group owns the internet, though it did evolve from the U.S. military trying to set up communication networks to keep remote sites connected after a nuclear war.
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