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Internationalizing the Internet

The Co-evolution of Influence and Technology Byung-Keun Kim, Professor, School of Industrial Management, Korea University of Technology and Education, Republic of Korea
This compelling book focuses on the global formation of the Internet system. It contests the common belief that the Internet’s adoption was inevitable and instead examines the social and economic processes that allowed to it to prevail over competing standards and methods for achieving a global information infrastructure.
Extent: 320 pp
Hardback Price: $165.00 Web: $148.50
Publication Date: 2005
ISBN: 978 1 84376 497 7
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Economics of Innovation
  • Innovation and Technology
  • Economics of Innovation
  • Technology and ICT
This compelling book focuses on the global formation of the Internet system. It contests the common belief that the Internet’s adoption was inevitable and instead examines the social and economic processes that allowed to it to prevail over competing standards and methods for achieving a global information infrastructure.

The author demonstrates how the current Internet system was not the only possible choice, nor the best data network in terms of technological and economic performance. It is therefore vital, he argues, to understand the way in which different political and economic interests have helped shaped the Internet and allowed it to overcome rival technologies. Issues of particular importance include the role of negotiations among different social groups in the design of the Internet as well as the influence of US promotion. The author also examines patterns of growth and pervasiveness of the Internet between different regions and countries, providing new evidence on the factors influencing the extent of the ‘digital divide’. Using econometric models, he goes on to identify the features of the co-evolution of the Internet and other sub-systems within countries, and highlights the most interesting features of their local and global interplay.

Researchers and academics involved with science and technology policy, industrial and corporate change, and the information society will welcome this insightful, original and highly pertinent book. It will also be of value for anyone with an interest in how the backbone of the digital economy was formed.
‘. . . Kim’s book provides both the novice and the more experienced researcher with a very wide range of sources as well as an in-depth analysis of those sources. . . Kim’s book is a worthwhile and substantial addition to literature about the ways in which the internet is changing as it moves through the world.’
– Sally Wyatt, Technovation

‘The global but uneven spread of the Internet is giving rise to concerns about inequality and what should be done about it. There are few systematic studies of the distinctive ways that the Internet is becoming embedded or localised in different countries around the world. This book offers an insightful analysis of the social and political history of a contested technology design process that is continuing to shape the Internet system as we encounter it today.’
– Robin Mansell, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK

‘This excellent volume will be a first-rate addition to the literature. It is original, thorough, well-written and well-organised. The notes to each chapter are particularly good and together with the extensive list of references make it such a comprehensive study that it should become a standard reference book on the Internet. But its greatest merit is in the analysis made so clearly and brilliantly in the eight chapters.’
– Christopher Freeman, Science and Technology Policy Research (SPRU), University of Sussex, UK and Maastricht University, The Netherlands
Contents: 1. Introduction 2. Socioeconomic Design of Technological Systems 3. Economics and Politics of Telecommunications Systems 4. The Design of Data Network Systems: Competing and Collaborating Technologies 5. The Evolution of the Internet System 6. Internationalization and Digital Divide 7. Co-Evolution: Localization of the Internet System 8. Conclusion Bibliography Index