This purpose of this paper it to examine the historical forces shaping the new paradigm and the possible directions in which the new commercial Internet might evolve.
The Internet is undergoing a major paradigm shift. The factors influencing this shift, the commercial models that are emerging, and the resulting constraints that accompany these models are deeply rooted in the history of the Internet.
The Internet has been the incubator for new network technologies, far surpassing the expectations of worldwide network suppliers. Its growth has been the steepest shortly after new technology has been deployed and new applications executed. Two basic reasons underlie the Internet's success: the Internet satisfies the needs of its users and its technologies were developed by solving real problems.
The Internet is unique, and concepts cannot be readily borrowed from other business situations and applied to the Internet without risking adverse consequences on its effectiveness and utility. The key issues of the commercial Internet's future, such as management of the boundaries between networks, the establishment of an environment that fosters continued rapid technological progress, and the “carrots‐and‐sticks” imposed by the funding sources will be critical factors in its success.
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