Who owns the internet?

Photo by Ludovic Toinel on Unsplash

Today let’s discuss who owns the internet.

The first thing you need to understand, the internet is not physical entity, it’s more of a concept. It’s a huge network of computers located all other the world. So it’s pretty difficult to own, impossible I would say.

Photo by Les deHamer on Unsplash

The internet is a network, so it has an infrastructure. Who owns the infrastructure?

Most of the infrastructure is owned by large Internet Service Providers (ISPs). ISPs are the companies who provide users access to the internet. They own network access points, extensive cables, and routers. Tier 1 ISPs own most of the infrastructure and sell their services to smaller ISPs.

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

Who define internet standards? ISPs? No, they don’t.

There is World Wide Web Consortium (WC3) who develops standards that are then implemented by manufacturers. It the one who adopted the HTML, DOM, CSS and many other useful standards.

Could we say this organisations owns the internet? No, they just determine standards, that’s it.

Photo by Nastuh Abootalebi on Unsplash

So who owns the internet?

The most accurate answer would be large ISPs and big companies own it. Whether is good or bad, we’ll find out in the future.



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Software Developer, +12 years coding. Bachelors in CompSci.