[ih] Internet-history Digest, Vol 10, Issue 1

Craig Partridge craig at tereschau.net
Sun Jul 5 18:27:31 PDT 2020

> Can you imagine the word fighting the COVID-19
> pandemic without the internet? If there were no internet, there could be
> very little working from home, no online classes for students stuck at
> home, no video communication with family and friends, much more
> no way to stop rumors and get scientific information to ordinary people,
> etc.

Just for fun, as alternative history is simply about fun, we probably can
envision a world without the Internet.  The CCITT and ITU worked very hard
to create one.

So we'd have whatever the descendant of the videophone is.  I imagine we'd
have three jacks in some wall outlets: voice, video, and data (cf. what
they tried to do for ATM).  Your cable modem would be similar (indeed, it
is now -- coax for video, phone jack for phone, Ethernet jack for data).
Data service would be slow -- say 1.5Mbps and you'd pay a premium to
originate video.

Computers would have still gotten incredibly fast, so we'd have apps that
combined the inputs from the three jacks on the computer to give us video
conferencing with shared documents and such.

I don't know what social media would look like.  My guess is YouTube
doesn't exist (the conditions that enabled YouTube would not be present).

Charges for videoconferencing would be high -- document sharing and joint
editing would be expensive and you'd be much less efficient than you'd be
in your regular office, which was wired with some sort of switched local
data sharing network (think Netware -- which remember, was doing better
than the Internet for part of the 1980s).


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