Celebrating International Internet Day
Saturday 29 October is International Internet Day – a day to celebrate when our world changed forever. Let’s have a look back at how the online world all began.
The first ‘internet’
It’s common to think that the internet was invented somewhere in the late 80s, but it was actually much earlier than that. The very first form of what we now call the internet was known as ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) and it sent its first digital message in 1969. The message was sent from a computer at UCLA to a computer at the Stanford Research Institute. Shortly after, two more computers (nodes) joined the ARPANET. These four computers located at four different universities across the USA represent the first version of the internet.
It took another two decades to make real progress as engineers and programmers grappled with how to make ARPANET transfer more than just basic text-based information. However, with the invention of the World Wide Web in the mid-1990s, along with significant commercial interest in this new technology, it wasn’t long before a universal standard was necessary. On October 24, 1995 the Federal Networking Council (FNC) officially defined the term ‘internet’ and agreed that this would be the name given to the global information system that:
- Is logically linked together by a globally unique address space based on the Internet Protocol (IP) or its subsequent extensions/follow-ons
- Is able to support communications using the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) suite or its subsequent extensions/follow-ons, and/or other IP-compatible protocols; and
- Provides, uses or makes accessible, either publicly or privately, high level services layered on the communications and related infrastructure described herein.
We may not see a rate of change equal to the last two decades in terms of what the internet and the world wide web can do, but the digital environment continues to evolve in new and surprising ways with the internet facilitating constant innovation in areas such as e-health, online banking, e-commerce, smart cities, 3D printing, drones – the list goes on.
With the cost of personal computers, mobile devices and tablets within reach of most members of society within the Western world, questions remain about the digital divide. While digital communities benefit from everything the internet has to offer, what are the effects on those that don’t have access to the online world? It’s questions such as these that Internet Day is designed to make all of us think about.
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