AS WE ENTER full-throttle into the Information Age, the mere mention of "the information highway" conjures up a predictable set of high-tech images. Telecommuting, video-on-demand, distance learning and network shopping are just a few of the features we hope to find available to us in the very near future. But to most Americans, the information highway means little beyond the impending advent of on-line entertainment and teleconferencing. Television spots and speeches by the prime movers in telecommunications give us an ideal impression of what this highway will be, but our understanding of it is by no means certain. What exactly is the information highway, and who is building it? What services will it offer, and what will be out of reach? What outstanding issues must be considered and debated, even by those outside of the telecommunications industry? This web document will address the general history of information highway planning and decision making in order to elucidate some of the complexities of the subject.
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