The history of going online and the Internet, 1960 to 1999.

5th day of October 2009,

Don E. Sprague

Online and social networks have their roots in the use of the telegraph.  It was the first online electronic communication.  It provided
person to person electronic mail as well as business communication.  It also provided military and other government
communication.  It had a basic user interface to the network or machines. Thus, telegraph was the first generic email and generic e
business. The next major step was teletype.  It had more advanced human to machines interfaces.

The next major step that actually began going "online" for electronic communication came with one computer in a room that had a
system console.  That was the first online human to computer communication through a keyboard and printer. The next step was
about the same time when there were 2 interconnected computers in one room.  That is when online electronic communication
advance from telegraph to being computer to computer. We might never know who or what enterprise actually first had two computers
interconnected.  I suspect IBM was the first company to actually interconnect 2 computers in one room then in different facilities.  The
work at IBM began in 1960 and was announced in 1964 as the SABRE reservation system.  That was likely the first online human and
computer to computer communication in the same room and in different facilities.

We know that the government gave us IP.  We also know that commercial online services providers gave us online services both
before and after IP.  To help explain the contribution of IP for going online and the name Internet used to identify global online
services, an analogy helps put things into proper perspective. Long ago, people fixed and ate their food at home.  At some time,
somebody came up with the idea of a restaurant. That restaurant equates to the first commercial network services business which
happened in 1960. Now think about a family style buffet picnic in the park.  That equates to the US Air Force requirement in 1962 for a
study for a military network.  From those examples we see the beginning of dining out and a concept for understanding the beginning
of going online along with IP and the eventual generic online Internet.

Using the dining analogy for the history of going online and the Internet, it's roots go back to teletype and advanced in 1960 with the
first commercial modem or fast food restaurant portal.  Two years later, the military said they wanted to study the need for a buffet
style dining capability for their airmen. Between 1962 and 1988, many military and government family picnic type gatherings sprung
up from the initial requirement.

Remember,  The online activity IBM began in 1962 and announced in 1964 as the SABRE reservation system.  That was likely the first
online human and computer to computer communication in the same room and in different facilities.

On the commercial online services path, hundreds of thousands of services emerged.  Using the restaurant analogy, we saw growth
of fast food, and fancy menu dining as well as buffet style and family picnics along with other shopping opportunities. They were used
by all types of enterprises including commercial and government.  Going online, like dining out, was becoming common.

In 1980, the online shopping center and food courts concept was introduced to the commercial path with dining as well as other
stores. This equates to the introduction of the electronic customer support Architecture and Strategy which formulated a path for multi-
enterprise online electronic business rapid expansion. Online electronic business is analogous to the shopping center approach
which was a significant step that aggregated all the existing commercial dining and shopping opportunities. The creation of shopping
centers didn't create restaurants or fast food or buffets or retail stores.  It just made them more convenient for users or consumers.
The same applies to online services. There was a large number of online services providers worldwide.  They were basically
standalone instead of aggregated.  In 1985, the full scale process of aggregation of all internal and commercial online services
formally began.  The online shopping center with food courts plus other dinging and shopping had begin.  By 1996, the aggregation of
online services had been achieved. Over the next few years, we saw innovation in the type of online services using the existing
integrated online or shopping centers and food courts.  Global online connectivity was a reality before the providers switched to IP in

In 1988, the military path NSF family picnic buffet people hired some of the shopping center people to move the picnic buffet out of the
park.  They got a place in the shopping center for their buffet. The military NSF buffet got a place next to the food court. The NSF family
picnic offered some additional food and added a method for non-family members to enter at a very low fee with the cost paid by the
government. The addition of educational information to the commercial online services world was like adding some different food.  
Eventually, in 1996, the shopping center management adopted IP or you could say they merged with the family buffet in the park
management.  The new shopping center management had the entrance to the shopping center controlled by the former military path
buffet in the park management. The existing building and the services from the commercial online services providers were still
delivered by the former shopping center services providers. That equates to the online networks and the bulk of the online services
providers in the Internet continuing as shopping center and food court services providers. Historical global commercial path providers
of online services and content sites were before and are still providing commercial online services. A relative few government content
providers remain. All the former global commercial online customers and restaurants and stores became know of as part of the
newly named Internet entrance management business.  To show growth of the renamed shopping center Internet, they talk about
their family picnic historical dining growth and post merger growth. However; they left out all the historical commercial path dining and
shopping center growth history and user numbers.  They count prior existing global commercial online services diners as new buffet
Internet diners.  

The basic questions and the answers.

The analogy applies exactly to the Internet. However; to better help understand the true history of going online and what we generically
call the Internet, it is important consider answers to a few basic questions.

Q - What are Internet type services?   
Q - What is the Internet Protocol (IP)?
Q - What is the network known generically as the Internet?
Q - Which came first; Internet type services,  the Internet Protocol or the Internet?

Think of computers talking to each other using various languages. Before IP, there were standard languages and company specific
or proprietary languages. Various online service providers emerged between 1960 and 1995. Those online service providers used
one or more language and had gateways for cross language communication to accommodate customers who used different
languages on different networks.  The proprietary commercial developed or standards group developed languages had provisions for
interconnections of networks as well as performance and security as part of their design. The first language was developed before
the government’s IP. They always had the intent of allowing business as well as government interconnections of online networks.

Internet Protocol (IP) is a communication method or language used by Internet Services Providers (ISPs). It historically equates to the
family style buffet in the park.  It was developed by or for the government’s  use in networks that were restricted or closed to a select
user community. Since it was specifically for a closed user community, it didn't have the same level of cross user or internal security
design requirements. It was harder to get in but once you were in, it was wide open. Anybody could eat off any plate. It had provisions
for error checking and retransmission of data to address performance concerns. It seems that the term IP, has been retro-applied to
a family of languages used inside closed government networks.  IP competes with languages that were developed by commercial
providers. IP seemingly began as a language specifically for interconnections of military computers and it evolved as a language for
interconnections of government computers and networks.  It eventually evolved to participate in the much larger, older commercial
networking business. With some improvements to address issues like performance and security exposure, it was adopted for use by
the larger prior existing global commercial path.  Basically, one of the security improvement put in place was to reduce the opportunity
for anybody to eat off any plate.  

Internet type services are online services.  Online services were operational before 1964.  They equate to the first restaurant along
with food courts and shopping centers in our dining out analogy.  They continued to grow and were fully in place before the
commercial online services providers adopted IP to replace the network communication languages they had been using.

The Internet is a name or title used generically to refer to the overall online global network that is comprised of various commercial
online networks that are “interconnected”, or better, it is various online serviced providers networks that are “interconnected” and they
use the same communication technology or language called IP. The word Internet is supposedly derived from a combination of the
words “interconnected” and “network”. The term has been retro-used generically to refer to all online services and various  
“interconnection” of “networks” inside and outside the government.  Since the 1990s, it is basically generically applied to the prior
existing commercial online networks delivered by commercial network services providers because they converted to IP.  Using our
food court analogy, Internet is basically the replacement name or term for food courts and shopping centers.

Overview of historical facts:  

In 1960, AT&T delivered the first modem type device.  In 1962, the US Air Force delivered a requirement for study for a military network
and that project led to development of IP and the term, Internet. The Government’s Internet Protocol or computer language came from
the people who trace their networking development activity to that military project beginning.

In 1964, IBM delivered the SABRE reservation system.  That was online human and computer to computer communication in the
same room and in different facilities.

In 1969,  the military path attempted to do a logon between two computers.  

In the mid 1990s, online network services providers converted from using various languages to IP.  They became knows as ISPs
instead of online services.  They already consisted of massive worldwide online interconnect electronic network(s) before they
became know of by the replacement name of the Internet.

Over the 35 year period since the first commercial modem in 1960, many advances were made.  In 1964, the first major commercial
online network was an airline reservation service delivered by IBM.  In 1979 the first major commercial online service provider in the
USA began. In 1981 BITNET was announced and it established connections for widespread education and research communication.
In a very short time it had all state governments connected. In 1982, Minitel Videotex online service in France enabled online
purchases and performed various online activities including chat. By 1985, all the components for the eventual online global network
had been introduced but they were still fragmented. In 1985, IBM formally began it’s major effort to connect all of it’s customers and
suppliers for electronic business communication with IBM. That concept initiated in 1980 equates to the first shopping center and
food courts in the dining analogy. IBM’s electronic business beginning effort was specifically intended to prompt IBM’s customers and
suppliers to do electronic business with IBM then each other. The first step had electronic customer support as the prime critical
online application to drive connections. That step was specifically intended to prompt all those companies to do electronic business
with the individual public consumer.  That step was specifically intended to prompt the delivery of individual to individual online
services with things like the conversion to E-mail so fewer trees need to be cut for paper mail. In 1985, in a meeting with IBM
Information Network executives,  I made the prediction that in 5 to 10 years almost all business will have their E-business address in
advertisements along side their phone numbers.  I also prediction that individuals like you, your friends, your family and I will also
have an E-mail address to share with others. About that time, I was given the moniker "grandfather of Email". It is important to state,  If
I hadn't done any of the things I did,  the online global network would still have existed. The online global network business
community was already working toward the eventual outcome. By 1995, when online electronic service providers began changing to
IP, all the various types of online services were already being delivered.  Now step back to 1988 when the National Science
Foundation (NSF) issued the contract for the development of another restricted government, academic, and research network to be
known by the name, Internet. Officially it had the same fair use rules as it’s ancestral military network. Unofficially, the fair use rules
were ignored thereby allowing it to somewhat compete with the older very large global online network business. If the fair use rules
had been enforced, as they were enforced on BITNET, the Internet would have had the same fate as it’s predecessor government
Arpanet networks or likely, the same fate as BITNET.   

Based on any definition:


Internet type services also know as electronic or online services were first. They were delivered by older larger global online
commercial services providers. They grew from 1960 through the conversion to the use of IP and continue today.    


The Internet name seems to have come second.  It was used inside the government but it wasn't the same generic commercial
Internet  It was a restricted network(s)  that specifically prohibited business and private individual use. The government restricted
network(s) "Internet" birth day is some time after the 1962 conception of the USAF requirement for a study.  It isn't the first connect
attempt in 1969.  It is supposedly some time before the NSF contracted for the development of a NSF funded Internet. The NSF
Internet is also different from the generic Internet that is delivered by ISPs today.  It now applies as a generic term for both government
and business interconnected online networks.  It is commonly used to refer to both historical government and business
interconnected online services that existed prior to the merger of the older larger global commercial path online services and the US
Air Force path.  Using the term generically, the Internet birthday could be the day in 1960 when AT&T announced their first modem.  
More realistically, the conversion of the older and much larger commercial online services networks to the use of IP and their rename
to the generic Internet gives a birthday of the Internet sometime in the middle 1990s.


IP came third.  It was actually developed in various stages.  There is a IP specification document dated 1974 for one version of IP.  In
1988 the NSF issued a contract to IBM, MCI and Merrit system to develop and build another network called the Internet. Prior versions
of Internets and IP existed but they were different from the Internet and IP that came from the NSF funded Internet contract. The
evolution of languages that sprung from the 1962 US Air Force requirement led to the retro-generic usage of the term IP to represent
any language in the path from the initial requirement to today’s IP.


In the mid 1990s, the first commercial online service provider converted their commercial online services to IP.  That is possibly the
real birthday of the generic ISP Internet we know today. Before the generic term Internet and IP were adopted, the pre-generic Internet
was many commercial online and internal networks delivered by various commercial providers instead of a network delivered by the
those same various providers.    


That is the short story. Obviously the expansive global electronic network generically known as the Internet has many roots. It’s global
commercial leg began before it’s military leg.  It’s global commercial leg was many times larger than it's government leg when they
merged.  The government leg adopted the older larger global commercial leg business approach that had rapidly grown between
1985 and 1995. Without the global commercial leg, the military Arpanet leg wouldn't have evolved to become the global commercial
generic Internet we know today. It would have continued to be a government, academic, and research network owned and delivered
for the government. The older larger commercial leg adopted the military Arpanet leg’s "IP and generic Internet name". Without any of
the activity in the military Arpanet leg, the generic Internet already existed and would have continued to exist with all of today’s services.
It would have had a different name but it might have had a similar address scheme. They might have been called the global network
or they might have just been called online or the net. The address schema might have looked similar to users but it might have had a
better technical internal design.

NOTE: Many thousands of people played either direct or indirect roles in the business and technical planning plus development and
delivery of system and network components and services.   Many people have read about the system and network business then
written papers based on what they read. Each of those people, whether participant or outside reviewer,  have a different perspective of
the actual historical events. A very few people who actually played a part have written about some of their experiences. Many people
had a narrow view while fewer have a wide view. Most of the information about the history and growth of the Internet is limited to the
military path. Far too few commercial participants have written or contributed their historical perspective. This results in a very narrow
picture with significant differences in stories. While stories may be true as far as they go, none tell all of the story. Different reference
sources have slight differences in dates for first events and slight differences in definition or description of components. This paper is
intended to combine facts and details from various historical perspectives and fill in holes with a small amount of information about
the much larger, older global commercial path. This collation results in a composite that accommodates various perspectives. I was
a participant and contributor to the initiation, growth and delivery of historical system and network business and technical
requirements, plans, training, sales, management consulting, and services.  I contributed and drove information systems and
network advancements and improvements through the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.  If I hadn't been there,  the Internet would still have
eventually happened. My main contribution was to accelerate the eventual.

As with any historical paper,  specific dates, descriptions of events, and terminology or use of words may be disputable and subject to
discussion. However; the basic theme of this paper is accurate and indisputable.  
Internet Business Model Invention

What is the Internet Business Model?  It is the concept of interconnecting all networks to allow any user on any network to
communicate with any user or user on any other network to perform electronic business and do social networking. It is
based on the statement that: anything that can be recorded electronically can be delivered electronically.  

What is IP.  It is the protocol that all network managers adopted.  IP is like concrete on a highway.  Any road surface or
technology can work on the highway.

Who invented the Internet?  

The answer has two parts,  Many people invented the technologies,  One person invented the business model of a shared
online network to allow any to any to any.  There were millions of users on hundreds of thousands of networks while IP was
being developed.  In 1980, all the existing networks were isolated.  That is when the Business Model for connecting all
networks was invented.  All network providers adopted the business model while IP was being invented.  The Internet
protocol was invented as a technology for closed government networks.  Eventually, the managers of the closed
government networks adopted the existing open commercial business model.

The Internet business model began as the Electronic Customer Support Architecture and Strategy.  The IBM Information
Network Marketing Guide included the business model as a marketing approach years before IP was made available for
commercial use.  

See scanned pages from the 1985 IBM Information Network Marketing Guide showing the ECS business model

See scanned pages from announcements and news letter articles showing the success of the ECS model
the masses,  

That term originated 02,
July, 2011 by Don E.
In an article called “What Is The Internet (And What Makes It Work) - December, 1999 By Robert E. Kahn and
Vinton G. Cerf” they write:


For a long time, the federal government did not allow organizations to connect to the Internet to carry
out commercial activities. By 1988, it was becoming apparent, however, that the Internet's growth and
use in the business sector might be seriously inhibited by this restriction.

End quote

When the Internet Business Model was 8 years old and in place, it was adopted by the developers
of IP.
We can not have good security if we do not know who is supposed to do what.  That means, great security begins with a detailed
registration process to provide comprehensive information about each user and the connections they approve.

In the past, there were different communication methods or languages for the many Value Added networks.  They all adopted a
common communication language and became Internet Service Providers.  They did not adopt a common network management
structure.  There is a new Internet  
Secure Internet  Architecture that provides a common network management structure that all
ISPs can adopt.