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Published on Sep 26, 2009
Many advocates of strict net neutrality regulation argue that the Internet has always been a dumb pipe and that Congress should require that it remains so. A new report by ITIF Research Fellow Richard Bennett reviews the historical development of the Internet architecture and finds that contrary to such claims, an extraordinarily high degree of intelligence is embedded in the network core. Indeed, the fact that the Internet was originally built to serve the needs of the network research community but has grown into a global platform of commerce and communications was only made possible by continuous and innovative Internet engineering. In the new ITIF report Designed for Change: End-to-End Arguments, Internet Innovation, and the Net Neutrality Debate, Bennett traces the development of the Internet architecture from the CYCLADES network in France to the present, highlighting developments that have implications for Internet policy. This review will help both engineers and policy makers separate the essentials from the incidentals, identify challenges to continued evolution, and develop appropriate policy frameworks.