SETTING THE STAGE OR WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT
In this section of the book, I set the stage for the various issues discussed in this book. Chapter 1 outlines how computer-mediated communication (CMC) has been used by people around the world to reach others in faraway places with relative ease. Most dramatic have been the changes experienced with the help of networking computers around the globe resulting in today's Internet. The structure of communication exchanges, skills, and demographics are, however, vastly different across networks (e.g., AOL vs. a local Bulletin Board).
Chapter 2 discusses the rapid growth of the Internet as well as how regulation and deregulation in some markets [e.g., telecommunication in the United States and the European Union (EU)] might have helped or hindered the use of the Internet. In some instances, growth has been facilitated and in others, hindered by regulation and/or the possible lack of regulation in telecommunication, TV-cable, and electricity/power markets. Regulation and/or deregulation is affecting the type of infrastructure offered as well as the services provided. For instance, regulation in the power industry has resulted in the latter using profits from regulated markets to succeed in the deregulated market of telecommunication in many countries. In turn, as chapter 3 outlines, costs incurred by users for products and services provided by suppliers can vary greatly and may in some cases be exorbitant depending on a country's standard of living for the majority of its population. Hence, economic and access opportunities for services and price levels as discussed in chapter 3 are affected by regulatory developments as outlined in chapter 2.