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Indiana Law Journal

Science and Technology Law

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The Policy Origins Of Wi-Fi, John Blevins Jan 2023

The Policy Origins Of Wi-Fi, John Blevins

Indiana Law Journal

Wi-Fi technology has become a necessary foundation of modern economic and cultural life. This Article explains its history. Specifically, it argues that Wi-Fi owes its existence and widespread adoption to federal policy choices that have been underexplored in the literature. Wi-Fi’s development is often portrayed as an unexpected and lucky accident following the FCC’s initial decision in the 1980s to allow more unlicensed and experimental uses. This view, however, obscures the more fundamental role that federal policy played. For one, the rise of modern Wi-Fi was the product of a series of policy decisions spanning decades. In addition, the FCC’s …


The Fcc And The “Pre-Internet”, John Blevins Jul 2016

The Fcc And The “Pre-Internet”, John Blevins

Indiana Law Journal

Network neutrality has dominated broadband policy debates for the past decade. While important, network neutrality overshadows other policy levers that are equally important to the goals of better, cheaper, and more open broadband service. This lack of perspective has historical precedent—and understanding this history can help refocus today’s policy debate. In the 1960s and 1970s, telephone companies threatened the growth of the nascent data industry. The FCC responded with a series of rulemakings known as the “Computer Inquiries” proceedings. In the literature, Computer Inquiries enjoys hallowed status as a key foundation of the Internet’s rise.

This Article, however, argues that …