Story by: Colophon Editor
September 29, 2006

The Internet is a loose organization of networks. No single group runs it and pays for it. Instead, it is paid for, and parts of it are run, by many private organizations, government agencies and educational institutions.

These groups work together in a democratic, loosely organized alliance. All share resources and data that travel over the Internet. Web pages, email and other protocols share the same space across the network.

Internet traffic is carried across high-speed backbones that are in large part paid for by the federal government. Like a large data pipe, these backbones connect some very fast networks for the research and education community by linking together their super computer centers. Business and residential networks also share the space.

Industrial backbones connect together a diverse group of internet services. Many of these are then accessed by smaller networks that run the offices, schools and homes where we surf the web, transfer files and send email.

The Internet, as a giant network of networks, has many component parts that make it work. Private, government and educational entities all play an ever-evolving role in the way the Internet runs.

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