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Revolution in Phn U.S. information National Academy of Engineering NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1995
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NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS · 2101 Constitution Ave., NW · Washington, DC 20418 NOTICE: The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineer- ing programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievement of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is presi- dent of the National Academy of Engineering. This publication has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a National Academy of Engineering report review process. The interpretations and conclusions expressed in this volume are those of the authors and are not presented as the views of the council, officers, or staff of the National Academy of Engineering. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 95-69120 International Standard Book Number 0-309-05287-4 Copyright 1995 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
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Preface Although terms like "national information infrastructure" and "information superhighway" have only recently become part of the vernacular, societies have always had information infrastructures. From mail carried by ship and Pony Express, to the telegraph, tele- phone and wireless, we have developed means and technologies that permit communication with others who are far from us. What is so dramatically different about today's information infrastructure, how- ever, is its power and reach. Digital technology, optical transmission of information, and the continuing surge in the microchip's data- processing capability have spawned a spreading communications net- work throughout the world. These technological developments offer untold opportunities in fields as diverse as entertainment and indus- trial management. The public and private sectors are investing sub- stantial sums to develop and implement the hard and soft infrastruc- ture necessary to realize the promise of these advances. Because of the complexity of the myriad undertakings now under way, and because the general public understands little of their implications, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) decided to focus its 1994 Annual Meeting Technical Session on the revolu- tion in the information infrastructure. The intent of the meeting, held October 6, 1994, in Washington, D.C., was to obtain the views of a diverse set of speakers whose current activities and future plans cover . . .
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IV PREFACE a broad range of approaches to the subject. The symposium ad- dressed three broad questions: · What technical and economic factors will determine the stan- dards of and marketplace demand for products and services? · What roles are government and private investment, demon- stration projects, and regulation and regulatory reform likely to play in the development of the infrastructure during the next decade? · What are the problems and promises for people's lives and organizations' work as video and data communications approach and surpass the interactivity of telephones? As is reflected in the papers in this volume, the technological and market forces that are driving changes in the information infrastruc- ture are fairly easy to identify. As is also evident in the papers, given the rapid evolution and growth in the infrastructure, there is a great diversity of opinion about how this future will come about. There is, however, agreement that rich technological capabilities and abundant market potentials will enhance the national information infrastruc- ture and will lead ultimately, in a process already begun, to the real- ization of a global information infrastructure. In addition to the authors, I would like to thank William R. Wulf for his illuminating and insightful closing remarks at the symposium. Other individuals who should be noted for their work, either in orga- nizing the symposium or in getting this volume ready for publication, are Gerald Dinneen, Bruce Guile, Janet Hunziker, Greg Pearson, Vivienne Chin, Maribeth Keitz, and Mary Lee. ROBERT M. WHITE President National Academy of Engineering
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Contents The Evolution of Information Infrastructures: The Competitive Search for Solutions John S. Mayo The Role of Government in the Evolution of the Internet 13 Robert E. Kahn The Promise of the National Information Infrastructure 25 Robert W. Stearns Satellite Communications in the Global Information Infrastructure Steven D. Doryman 39 Current Trends and Likely Futures in Wireless Systems 53 John E. Major Antitrust Enforcement and the Telecommunications Revolution: Friends, Not Enemies Robert E. Litan v 63
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Revolution in the Information U
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