Telecommunication forms a vital thread in the fabric of societal information and communication. It has shaped the ways in which global economies operate. Studying the history of telecommunications is essential to understand the evolution of the state, politics, and society in the present day. In Network Nation, an exhaustively researched account of the history of American telecommunications, Richard R. John explains how the first electrical communications networks, the telephone and telegraph, emerged as mass communication offerings "nurtured by a particular configuration of governmental institutions and civic ideals," despite strong business lobbying in favor of limiting services for an exclusive clientele. Richard John will discuss his book and talk about how business and government institutions helped shape American telecommunications. This will be followed by a panel discussion with Patricia Aufderheide from the Center for Social Media at American University, Andrew Schwartzman from Media Access Project, and Sascha Meinrath from the Open Technology Initiative at the New America Foundation who will discuss the implications for media, broadband and net neutrality policies in the 21st Century. http://www.newamerica.net/events/2010/network_nation
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