Who Owns the Internet?

No one owns the Internet. It is a series of computers and servers that connect together to create networks, and many of these servers are privately owned. For example, when a person connects to Google, his computer first connects to the network owned by the Internet service provider, or ISP. The ISP’s network then connects to other networks owned by other groups of people until it reaches Google’s servers.

Each website and network is owned and run by a different individual or group, so nobody owns the Internet in its entirety. Individuals and groups own the hardware that hosts and gives the end user access to websites. For example, Google owns the servers that hosts its website, but it doesn’t own the networks that connect users to the website.

When a person pays for Internet service, the ISP grants him access to the Internet by connecting the person’s computer system to its network. When the person visits a website, the ISP’s network connects to other networks associated with the website being visited, and it sends the data back to the customer’s computer. Without access to an ISP-owned network, gaining access to the Internet would be very difficult, as there would be no network route to connect the end user to the other networks on the Web.