According to many observers, economic globalisation and the liberalisation of telecoms/internet policy have remade the world in the image of the United States. The dominant role of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google has also led to charges of U.S. internet imperialism. This chapter, however, will argue that while these internet giants dominate some of the most popular internet services, the ownership and control of core elements of the internet infrastructure—submarine cables, IXPs, ASN, data centres, and so on—is tilting increasingly towards the EU and BRICS countries and the “rest-of-the-world,” complicating views of hegemonic U.S. control of the internet and of what Susan Strange calls the knowledge structure.
This chapter is a modified and updated version of an article that originally appeared as “The Geopolitical Economy of the Global Internet Infrastructure,” Journal of Information Policy 7 (2017): 228–267.
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The MAREA cable is jointly owned by Telefonica, Facebook and Microsoft; the Greenland Cable by a resurrected Canadian company from the dotcom era, Hibernia Networks; the Monet Cable is jointly owned by Angola cables, Antel Uruguay, Algar Telecom and Google; the Tannat Cable by Google and Antel Uruguay; the Junior cable by Google; while the SAIL cable is jointly owned by Cameroon Tel and China Unicom, and links the west coast of Africa to the east coast of South America (Telegeography 2018c). Dates cited are for when the cables began service, unless stated otherwise, and from this source.
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Winseck, D. (2019). Internet Infrastructure and the Persistent Myth of U.S. Hegemony. In: Haggart, B., Henne, K., Tusikov, N. (eds) Information, Technology and Control in a Changing World. International Political Economy Series. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-14540-8_5
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