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Icons of Progress

The Rise of the Internet


The Internet has transformed how people live, work, shop and communicate. Its impact on business, research, global politics and communication cannot be overestimated. The NSFNET contained the beginnings of many of the myriad uses of today’s Internet. These applications, already ingrained in the daily lives of so many, were at that point a strange, if exciting, electronic frontier.

Electronic Mail

Email was widely hailed as the killer application of the Internet, but some eyed the concept with suspicion. Businesses quickly adjusted their practices to take advantage of email’s faster, more efficient communication.

From Incomprehensible to Indispensable

Researchers tapped into the communication potential of the NSFNET. Businesses found untapped markets for their products and services. The public discovered an immense collection of knowledge at their fingertips. And everyone quickly found that they didn’t know how they had gotten along before.

Covering the Rise of the Internet

After an explosive period where traffic would double every three months (1995–96), the Internet continues to show rapid growth. With the Internet growing atop the NSFNET, itself a network of networks, it became essential for newcomers to understand this new tool.

Data Transfer

File transfer protocol (FTP) sites were the early Internet’s most efficient way of transferring data. Though comparatively more intimidating to new users, these sites laid the foundation for the Internet media delivery services to come.

IBM Global Network

IBM built a substantial part of AT&T’s Global Network infrastructure. IBM Global Network, founded in 1994, offered Internet access to business and the public. The network, with its 1 million plus customers, was acquired by AT&T in 1998 and continues to be part of their business Internet service..