What Telconet Could Mean

It may seem mysterious to many people why net neutrality is such a big deal. Most people on the Internet today don’t remember what it was like back in the day when telephone companies controled communication. When you couldn’t connect a telephone to Ma Bell’s network; only their technicians could do that. When telcos charged per minute, and on data networks often per byte.

Some people who remember dialup modem networks such as UUCP and FidoNet are half-seriously proposing that we could start those back up and make do. Maybe they forget what it was like.

Does anybody else remember that in the early days of EUnet (European UUCP) guns were illegal in one country while modems were illegal in another (because only the national telco was permitted to connect telephone equipment), so there was some trade in guns for modems.

And how EUnet actually extended to Moscow and other parts of the Soviet Union, often carring mailing lists gated from ARPANET, long before glasnost. Everybody running EUnet knew about this, but nobody wanted to talk about it because they were all afraid of the U.S. Commerce Department.

May those days not come again.