Who owns the Internet?
Think for a minute about the scope of the Internet. It's a collection of inter-networked computer systems that spans the entire globe. It depends on several sets of rules called protocols. These protocols make it possible for computer communication across networks. It also relies on a huge infrastructure of routers, Network Access Points (NAPs) and computer systems. Then there are the satellites, miles of cable and hundreds of wireless routers that transmit signals between computers and networks.
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The Internet's Owners
So who actually owns the Internet? There are two answers to this question:
- Lots of people
If you think of the Internet as a unified, single entity, then no one owns it. There are organizations that determine the Internet's structure and how it works, but they don't have any ownership over the Internet itself. No government can lay claim to owning the Internet, nor can any company. The Internet is like the telephone system -- no one owns the whole thing.
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The Internet's Caretakers
As mentioned earlier, the Internet works because of a system of rules called protocols. By following these protocols, computers can send information across the network to other computers. If there were no protocols, then there'd be no guarantee that the information sent from one computer could be understood by another, or that it'd even reach the right destination.