The Network: The Battle for the Airwaves and the Birth of the Communications Age

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This is the story of the airwaves, as told through the friendship of David Sarnoff, the head of RCA, who was the greatest supporter of his friend Edwin Armstrong, developer of the first amplifier, the modern radio transmitter, and FM radio. In the mid-1930s, however, when Armstrong suspected Sarnoff of orchestrating a cadre of government officials to seize control of the FM airwaves, he committed suicide. Many corrupt politicians and corporations saw in Armstrong's inventions the opportunity to commodify our most ubiquitous resource -- the air. This early alliance between high tech and business set the precedent for countless legal and industrial battles over broadband and licensing bandwidth, many of which continue to influence policy and debate today.

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