In January 1993, idle regulators at the FCC belatedly discover the burgeoning world of online services. Led by CompuServe, MCI Mail, AOL, GEnie, Delphi, and Prodigy, these services have been embraced by the computer-owning public. Users "log on" to communicate via "e-mail" and "chat rooms," make online purchases and reservations, and tap information databases. Their services are "walled gardens" that don't allow the users of one service to visit or use another. The FCC declares that because these private networks use the publically regulated telephone system, they fall under the purview of the Communications Act of 1934. The commission announces forthcoming plans to regulate the services in the "public interest, convenience, and necessity."
Check out the names of the big players in 1993. Consider the names of the big players today--all without major federal control or intervention.