Telecommunications and the Internet
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Telecommunications and the Internet

Challenges to the Network

This report, prepared by ITU, was released to coincide with the TELECOM Interactive 97 Exhibition and Forum, held in Geneva, 8-14 September 1997. The report looks at the relationship between the Internet and the public telecommunication sector.

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English
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ITU

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The spread of the Internet, which began in the United States in the 1970s and spread to other countries, via the academic community in the 1980s, has become universalised in the 1990s. Now some 171 countries and territories have direct access to the Internet (i.e., a network access point is located on their territory) and 24 others have indirect access (i.e., dial-up to a network access point located in a foreign country)1. The Internet does not yet quite have the geographical spread of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), but it is not far behind. But that is not surprising because, after all, the Internet is an overlay on top of the PSTN. While the Internet mainly uses leased lines, those lines are exactly the same mix of copper and fibre that is used to run the public telephone service.