cover of book
 

The Second Information Revolution
by Gerald W. BROCK
Harvard University Press, 2003
Cloth: 978-0-674-01178-6 | eISBN: 978-0-674-02879-1
Library of Congress Classification TK5101.B6883 2003
Dewey Decimal Classification 384.0973

ABOUT THIS BOOK | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK

Thanks to inexpensive computers and data communications, the speed and volume of human communication are exponentially greater than they were even a quarter-century ago. Not since the advent of the telephone and telegraph in the nineteenth century has information technology changed daily life so radically. We are in the midst of what Gerald Brock calls a second information revolution.

Brock traces the complex history of this revolution, from its roots in World War II through the bursting bubble of the Internet economy. As he explains, the revolution sprang from an interdependent series of technological advances, entrepreneurial innovations, and changes to public policy. Innovations in radar, computers, and electronic components for defense projects translated into rapid expansion in the private sector, but some opportunities were blocked by regulatory policies. The contentious political effort to accommodate new technology while protecting beneficiaries of the earlier regulated monopoly eventually resulted in a regulatory structure that facilitated the explosive growth in data communications. Brock synthesizes these complex factors into a readable economic history of the wholesale transformation of the way we exchange and process information.



Table of Contents:

Acknowledgments
Abbreviations

1. Introduction
The Promise of Regulation
Conceptual Framework

2. The First Information Revolution
The Development of Telegraph Services
The Telephone and State Regulation
Radio and Federal Regulation

3. Technological Origins of the Second Information Revolution, 1940-1950
Radar
The Transistor
Electronic Digital Computers

4. The SAGE Project

I. THE SEPARATE WORLDS OF COMPUTERS AND COMMUNICATIONS, 1950-1968

5. The Early Semiconductor Industry
The Creation of a Competitive Market
Innovation and the Integrated Circuit
Falling Prices, Rising Output

6. The Early Commercial Computer Industry
Vacuum-Tube and Transistor Computers
The System/360 and IBM Dominance
Alternatives to IBM Computers

7. The Regulated Monopoly Telephone Industry
Antitrust and the 1956 Consent Decree
Microwave Technology and Potential Long Distance Competition
Central Office Switches
Terminal Equipment

II. BOUNDARY DISPUTES AND LIMITED COMPETITION, 1969-1984

8. Data Communications
Packet-Switching and the Arpanet
Network Protocols and Interconnection
Local Area Networks and Ethernet

9. From Mainframes to Microprocessors
Intel and the Microprocessor
Personal Computers and Workstations

10. The Computer-Communications Boundary
Computer-Assisted Messages: Communications or Data Processing?
Smart Terminals: Teletypewriters or Computers?
Interconnection of Customer-Owned Equipment with the Telephone Network
The Deregulation of Terminal Equipment
The Deregulation of Enhanced Services

11. Fringe Competition in Long Distance Telephone Service
Competition in Specialized Services
Competition in Switched Services
The Transition to Optical Fiber

12. Divestiture and Access Charges
The Divestiture
Access Charges
The Enhanced Service Provider Exemption

III. INTERCONNECTED COMPETITION AND INTEGRATED SERVICES, 1985-2002

13. Mobile Telephones and Spectrum Reform
Early Land Mobile Telephones
Cellular Spectrum Allocation
Cellular Licensing Problems
Spectrum Institutional Reform
PCS and Auctions

14. Local Competition and the Telecommunications Act of 1996
Competitive Access Providers
Interconnection: CAP to CLEC
The Telecommunications Act of 1996
Implementation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996

15. The Internet and the World Wide Web
The Commercial Internet and Backbone Interconnection
The Development of the Web
The New Economy Financial Boom and Bust
Real Growth in Telecommunication and Price Benefits

16. Conclusion
Technological Progress and Policy Evolution
The Process of Institutional Change
Final Comment

References
Index



Reviews of this book:
The Second Information Revolution is important reading for anyone who needs to understand the functioning of American telecommunications, either to be able to analyse today's financial markets or to understand or influence public policy in this area.
--Wendy M. Grossman, Times Higher Education Supplement [UK]

Reviews of this book:
Brock traces a phenomenon he refers to as the 'second information revolution.' According to Brock, there have been two times in history when information technology has dramatically changed daily life. The first 'information revolution' occurred with the advent of the telephone and telegraph, which made communication less expensive and more readily available. The second information revolution is currently in progress...A concise, thorough, and well-written history of the transformation in exchanging and processing of information.
--K. A. Coombs, Choice

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