What is known as the Internet today began as a U.S. Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) project in the 1960’s. The project’s goal was to connect different computers in different locations and allow several of the computers to share communication lines. During the 1960’s and 1970’s, the project grew as more universities and companies, mainly defense contractors, connected to what was called ARPANet. Computers in other countries connected to ARPANet by the end of the 1970’s, creating a worldwide network.
As more and more computer systems and networks were connected to ARPANet, it came to be known as the Internet in the 1980’s. Discouraged by the high cost of Internet access and stringent government regulations, some companies and hobbyists learned how to connect their systems to the Internet. Some of these companies began to offer access to the public and the stage was set for the explosive growth of the Internet.
In the 1990’s, inexpensive access began to be widely available. The creation of the World Wide Web (web), along with graphic user interfaces such as Macintosh and Windows, made navigation relatively simple for anybody with a computer and a modem. The Internet, which encompasses electronic mail, the web, file transfer protocol, gopher, etc., is now growing exponentially. According to Network Wizards *, from July 1995 to January 1996 the number of internet hosts increased 43% from 6,642,000 to 9,472,000.
2 To connect to the Internet you need:
an Internet Service Provider (ISP)