Why do Google, Microsoft and Facebook have data centers in Council Bluffs, IA? They are following a time honored tradition of networks following networks. The UP railroad began building its portion of the transcontinental railroad at Council Bluffs in 1864. Telegraph wires followed the same right-of-way, then telephones and, now, the internet. The Atlantic has a fascinating scan of how these networks followed the rail.
The article provides an excellent summary of the development of the rail network and how the sale of access to its right of way paved the way for the network we know as the Internet and provides some insights into possibly how this network will continue to within the rights of way of highways and streets.
~Thanks to Craig Copelan for this post