What is the Internet?

The internet or “the Net” is a worldwide connection of computers where any computer user can get information from any other computer in the world, if it has access and authorization to do the same.  The internet has several benefits which include – being always available, large amount of information about almost anything and everything, online shopping from places worldwide, downloads many games/ videos/ music usually free of cost and helps to reduce the distance barrier among people.

The internet has come a long way from its early development stages. The history and the development of internet which revolutionized the computer is briefed below.


History of Internet

The development of the internet started in late 1960’s when the world was amidst a cold war. Two centres – Leonard Kleinrock’s Network Measurement Centre at the University of California,Los Angeles (UCLA) and Douglas Engelbart’s NLS system at Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park, California, decided to connect with each using a network to send data; called the ARPANET. This was the first network to use the Internet Protocol that forms the basis of the Internet we know today.

The ARPANET achieved expanded access in 1981 when National Science Foundation (NSF) funded the Computer Science Network (CSNET). 1982 marked the recognition of the Internet Protocol as a standard networking protocol on the ARPANET. ARPANET was withdrawn in 1990 when various internet service providers emerged.


Since, then the Internet has come a long way from sharing a few bytes of data for communication with each other, to sending terabytes of information across the globe.

The common man gained access to the modern Internet in the late 1980’s based on the work of Tim Berners-Lee on the World Wide Web, which stated that protocols could link hypertext documents into a computer. However, the development of the internet was mostly restricted to the developed countries with mostly application limited to data/ emails.


By the late 1990’s the internet grew rapidly with a growth rate of 100% year on year with the rise in instant two-way communication by means of email, instant messaging, telephone calls, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), World Wide Web and video calls. Till 1993, the internet carried a mere 1 % of all the information in a two-way communication system with this figure jumping to over 90% in less than half a decade thereon.

The past decade has seen the maximum growth from less than 15 % of the world population using the Internet to over 40 % using it today.



Currently, the internet is not only used to send emails or information data but is also used for various other purposes like social networking, communication, entertainment and businesses.

Today, the internet has become the primary source of social interaction with sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace to sites such as LinkedIn for business interaction and YouTube, Flickr for entertainment.  Slowly, the Internet has started rendering paper communication absolute.