This page points to some introductions to the network
infrastructure and some policy questions.
It covers -
There is more detail in other guides on this site, in
particular those about governance,
metrics and the digital
Global Connections: International Telecommunications
Infrastructure & Policy (New York: Wiley 1997)
by Heather Hudson is a lucid introduction to the global
pipelines - the cables, microwave, satellite and other
links. Zenon Carlos' article
A Simplified Overview of Undersea Development: The
Eruption of Bandwidth Across the Pacific offers a
succinct description of Australia-US infrastructure developments.
Matthew Zook's The Geography of the Internet Industry
(Oxford: Blackwell 2005) is essential reading.
The Last Mile: Broadband & The Next Internet Revolution
(New York: McGraw-Hill 2000) by Jason Wolf & Natalie
Zee and Planet Broadband (Indianapolis: Cisco
Press 2004) by Rouzbeh Yassini are less authoritative
but useful introductions for non-technologists.
Cary Lu's The Race For Bandwidth: Understanding Data
Transmission (Redmond: Microsoft Press 1998) is a
short guide; more accessible than most of the publications
from the Gates empire.
Robert Heldman's The Telecommunications Information
Millennium (New York: McGraw-Hill 1995) offers a one
volume description of communication technologies, useful
as an introduction to the Harvard Information Infrastructure
Project volumes noted below.
Douglas Comer's Computer Networks & Internets
(Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall 1997) is a more detailed
primer about hardware and software. Recommended, but not
in the reading-for-pleasure category. Globalisation,
Technology & Competition: The Fusion of Computers
and Telecommunications in the 1990s (Boston: Harvard
Business School Press 1993) by Stephen Bradley, Jerry
Hausman & Richard Nolan is one of the better HBS studies.
For the wireless web - considered later in this guide
- there is a succinct overview
in the Scientific American, with more detail in
The Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) (New York:
Wiley 2000) by Steve Mann & Scott Sbihli. There is
a more technical introduction in Marcel van der Heijden's
Understanding WAP: Wireless Applications, Devices &
Services (Norwood: Artech 2000).
For ISDN see in particular John Griffiths' ISDN Explained:
Worldwide Network and Applications Technology (New
York: Wiley 1992).
hardware and software
Elsewhere in this site we have commended Irv Englander's
The Architecture of Computer Hardware & Systems
Software (New York: Wiley 2000) as a lucid introduction
to computer architecture and software, embracing mainframes,
pcs, peripherals and networks. If you don't know the difference
between a WAN, a LAN and the net, this may be the book
Anytime, Anywhere Computing: Mobile Computing Concepts
& Technology (Hague: Kluwer 1999) by Abdelsalam
Hela & Darrell Woelk offers a detailed introduction
to pervasive computing.
law and policy
There is an extensive literature on network law and
policy issues. We've highlighted particular works, eg
on pricing and the activity of major carriers such as
Telstra, later in this guide.
The following works are points of entry for non-specialists.
There is an intelligent introduction to the ITU (profiled
here) and other standards
bodies in Constructing World Culture: International
NonGovernmental Organizations Since 1875 (Stanford:
Stanford Uni Press 1999), a collection of essays edited
by John Boli, and International Telecommunication
Standards Organizations (Norwood: Artech 1990) by
Gerd Wallenstein's Setting Global Telecommunication
Standards (Norwood: Artech 1990) and The Law and
Regulation of Telecommunications Carriers (Boston:
Artech House 1999) by Henk Brands & Evan Leo are drier.
Maureen Breitenberg's 1987 briefing
on The ABC'S of Standards-Related Activities in the
United States has retained its value as an introduction
to US standards processes and players. A comment is provided
by Andrew Updegrove's 2002 submission
Is There a Need for Government Involvement in the Standard
There is a broader perspective in The Politics of Global
Governance: International Organizations in an Interdependent
World (Boulder: Rienner 2001) edited by Paul Diehl,
Private Authority & International Affairs (Albany:
State Uni of NY Press 1999) edited by A. Claire Cutler,
Virginia Haufler & Tony Porter and Theories of
International Regimes (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni Press
1997) by Andreas Hasenclever, Peter Mayer & Volker
Ann Branscomb edited the major collection Toward A
Law of Global Communication Networks (New York: Longman
1986), complemented by Governing Global Networks: International
Regimes for Transport & Communications (Cambridge:
Cambridge Uni Press 1996) by Mark Zacher & Brent Sutton.
Mark Armstrong's Media Law (Melbourne: Oxford Uni
Press 1999) is a masterly introduction to the Australian
The First 100 Feet: Options for Internet and Broadband
Access (Cambridge: MIT Press 1999), edited by Deborah
Hurley & James Keller, is a Harvard Information Infrastructure
Project collection that explores opportunities for business,
government and communities rather than the 'last 100 feet'
problem discussed in the preceding page of this guide.
There ia similar perspective in National Information
Infrastructure Initiatives (Cambridge: MIT Press 1997)
edited by Brian Kahin & Ernest Wilson.
Kahin co-edited Borders In Cyberspace (Cambridge:
MIT Press 1997), which explores global rule-making, jurisdictions
and other issues discussed in our governance
guide. It is a way of getting to grips with the debate
about whether we live in what John Perry Barlow and Kenichii
Ohmae describe as 'the borderless world'. (Our assessment:
reports of death of the border - and of the state
- are premature).
Public Access to the Internet (Cambridge: MIT Press
1995), edited by Kahin & James Keller, introduces
pricing, national infrastructure initiatives and other
issues explored in the 'digital divide' page of our metrics
Michelle Egan's insightful Constructing a European
Market: Standards, Regulation, and Governance (Oxford:
Oxford Uni Press 2001) draws together several threads.