In the 1960s Donald Davies in London and Paul Baran in Santa Monica independently invented packet-switching, converting data into packets which contained the address of sender and recipient. By
1969 such a network connected four computers. This was ARPANET, funded by the US Dept of Defence. Two years later, 23 computers were on the network, communicating by e-mail. Another network, Usenet, also came on-line, allowing users to communicate with newsgroups, and by 1985 other networks included CompuServe and America Online. But these networks could not communicate with each other.
Techies began to look at this problem, working out ways of inter-networking. Soon people simply spoke of the internet. Working out rules for such interplay, they came up with the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, or TCP/IP. Different networks began to work with each other, the internet becoming a network of networks.
By 1988 there were 50,000 computers on the internet, growing to a million three years later. By the 1990s, commercial Internet Service Providers offered cheap access, following on from the invention of a method of organizing information by British-born CERN researcher, Tim Berners-Lee in 1989. He called his system the World Wide Web, with information disembodied on computers around the world, leading to an almost mythical concept of cyberspace.
In 1995, Microsoft made advances with the Internet Explorer browser, the providers changing in kind. Seeing advantages in the system, during the mid-1990s, the dotcom entrepreneurs came to the internet, offering all forms of service, from information, to ordering, to auctioneering. By 2000, a fully integrated internet served more than 70 million users and today, billions.
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