As the Internet has grown, the debate about its governance and regulation has become more significant. At the same time, that debate has also become polarised, with different constituencies arguing for incommensurable solutions. The consequences of this debate are many. A system for governing the Internet could regulate access to the networks, peering agreements between network providers or ‘netiquette’.1 At its heart, however, are questions about the infrastructure. The infrastructure itself is founded on standards. Those standards, therefore, are the basic subject matter of Internet governance:
We care about standards because of the fantastically complicated economic question of who captures the often considerable value that is created through the establishment of a standard. And we also care about standards because…they arise through the condensation of processes of social discourse… To the extent that Internet standards shape public discourse, their rule-setting function is a matter of public concern. And to the extent that the Internet serves as a medium for the agenda-setting from which a wide variety of technical standards emerge, the properties of that medium and the larger technical public sphere of which it is a part are likewise matters of political concern.