Ingrid Burrington has a great article in the Atlantic on the mutually shaping relationship between railroads and the Internet where she cites my recent First Monday article on the origins of online and offline.
Google didn’t come to Council Bluffs because of historical resonance. They came for the fiber, which runs parallel to Iowa’s many railroads and interstates. Rail infrastructure has shaped the language of the network (as noted in David A. Banks’s work on the history of the term “online”), the constellation of companies that form the network (most famously with Sprint emerging from the Southern Pacific Railroad’s internal-communications network), and, most relevant to this story, the actual routes that fiber-optic networks run.
Read the full article in The Atlantic