Internet history, 1960 to 1999

5th day of October 2009,

Don E. Sprague

Most people believe the US government gave us the Internet. That is partially true because the government did give us the Internet
Protocol (IP) and the Internet name we use generically to refer to the global electronic services delivery network(s). However; network
services providers existed and were delivering all the Internet type services before IP became available for their use. Those providers
didn’t go away, they just changed to IP. They were called Value Added Networks before they adopted IP. They are now called Internet
Service Providers (ISPs) after switching to IP.  

Two paths existed to get us to today’s generic Internet.  The US Air Force, Arpanet, IP path and the older, many times larger global
commercial path.  

The military Arpanet path basically consists of 4 parts beginning in 1962; Step 1, The USAF requirement. Step 2,  The Advanced
Research Project Network (Arpanet). Step 3, The NSF’s Internet contract for development and deployment. Step 4, The commercial
path adoption of IP to replace their different protocols.  

The global commercial networking business path basically has two parts beginning in 1960; Step 1, The 35 year period before they
adopted a single protocol.  Step 2, The period after they adopted IP from the US Air Force Arpanet path.

Essentially, NSF Internet went away when the older, much large global commercial path adopted IP and the Internet name.  That left
the commercial path using IP and being renamed to the Internet. Remember the old saying: the king is dead, long live the king. The
NSF Internet king is dead,  long live the commercial Internet king.

Actually it is an oversimplification to have just 4 steps for the military Arpanet path and just 2 steps for the global commercial path.  In
reality, the military Arpanet path has thousands of steps while the older, much larger global commercial path has thousands of times
more steps.  

This paper has four parts:

- A short explanation of the true history of the electronic network knows as Internet.    
{click here}

- Detailed historical network services and Internet delivery dates and descriptions.   {click here}

- Problems with the Internet today and solutions for the future.  {click here}

- Links to reference sources.  {click here}

- Appendix with additional electronic business delivery architecture and strategy history.  {click here}

Did you know:

Many people still think Marconi invented radio. The informed know that the United States Supreme Court, in 1943 found Marconi's
radio patent invalid, and recognized Tesla's contribution as the inventor of radio technology.

Historical inaccuracies can be corrected but it is hard to get people to know about the mistakes and the correction.  The same applies
to the true history of global network services known generically as the Internet.

The Internet Business Model revealed

in scanned pages from 1985 to 1988 historical documents.  

The Internet is a commercial marvel referred to a global electronic information infrastructure compared to the
Interstate highway system.  In the beginning, NCP was a transport for the “Internet” just as concrete is a transport
surface for the interstate highway system.  The change from NCP to TCP/IP happened in 1983.  The interstate
highway system now uses asphalt as well as concrete.  When you search for information about the history of the
Interstate highway system, there is little about the road surface but there is considerable information about the
Business Model defining what the interstate system is used for and why it was developed.  When people ask “what
is the interstate highway system”  or “what is the Internet”, they aren’t asking about concrete or asphalt or NCP or
TCP/IP.  When most people talk about the Internet, they talk about the Business Model.

Network Working Group J. Postel Request for Comments:
801 ISI November 1981

The official Internet name specifies the use of just TCP/IP or any subsequent technology.  That means that any
prior inter-networked activity using NCP or other technology isn’t Internet activity.  

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

Obviously, since TCP/IP wasn’t allowed to be used for business, it was more than seriously inhibited. It could NOT
compete or merge with the existing much larger business sector activity. It is clear that the research people knew of
the commercial Business Model that was in place doing business. The TCP/IP developers knew they needed
funding to build the NSF net to transform TCP/IP into something that could possibly work for business.  They also
knew they needed government approval to adopt the commercial Business Model. Obviously they understood that
the commercial world was doing Inter-Networking Electronic business on big scale and that TCP/IP would be
seriously inhibited.  In other words, the existence of the TCP/IP was on a path to extinction unless there was a new
version and it was allowed to adopt the commercial Business Model.  

In 1985, IBM changed the game when it announced INFOExpress and AskInfo through the IBM Information
network.  The business world had begun interconnecting to IBM’s shared Network.  In less than 10 years, the IBM
IN changed it’s name to the IBM Global Network and was the worlds largest Inter-networked service provider that
switched to use TCP/IP in 1996.

Interestingly noted, TCP/IP was supposed to interconnect different networks.  In 1983 and today as we switch to
IPV6  all TCP/IP networks must be the same level TCP/IP or they don’t interconnect. That is like having an
interstate highway system that must have all upgrades done nationwide at the same time.  The commercial
designed networks could be different levels of different technologies and still interconnect through gateways.  The
commercial providers used their commercial gateways to interconnect to the TCP/IP networks.  We seem to have
gone forward to the past when we adopted a technology that can’t accommodate different levels of different


October 24, 1995, Resolution of the U.S. Federal Networking Council
"The Federal Networking Council (FNC) agrees that the following language reflects our definition of the term
"Internet" refers to the global information system that --
(i) is logically linked together by a globally unique address space based on the Internet Protocol (IP) or its
subsequent extensions/follow-ons;
(ii) is able to support communications using the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) suite or
its subsequent extensions/follow-ons, and/or other IP-compatible protocols; and
(iii) provides, uses or makes accessible, either publicly or privately, high level services layered on the
communications and related infrastructure described herein."

End Quote

The definition of the Internet includes the use of TCP/IP and any follow-on.  Using that definition, the early
networks before 1983 using NCP weren’t Internet.  Likewise, using that definition, the massive commercial activity
that was in place when TCP/IP was still being developed doesn’t count.  That definition excludes the early years of
the Internet Business Model activity that had already connected all the major businesses and most mid and small
business worldwide. It also excludes the prior services delivered to millions of individuals.  It excludes commercial
networks that used gateways to interconnect to the Internet using different technology. That means the historical
growth numbers of host and users on TCP/IP must be redone to exclude the commercial networks going through
gateways until they converted use TCP/IP.

More important, the name Internet applies to any subsequent technology that replaces TCP/IP for the global
information infrastructure.  That means, TCP/IP or any technology is immaterial to the definition of the Internet.  It is
simply:  the global information infrastructure addressing the Business Model of interconnection of networks to allow
any to any.  

Internet Business Model

The Business Model for the Internet changed the way business, government and people communicate. The world
productivity and economy grew as the Internet Business Model was implemented. The TCP/IP research project
didn’t create or change the Business Model.  It was the Business Model that changed TCP/IP activity from research
and closed to government to become a technology used by business for business. The Internet Business Model
began in 1983 when IBM introduced it on it’s Information Network.  

Almost none of the description of the Internet address the Business Model or business activity until TCP/IP was
allowed to be used by business.  As a result, almost all descriptions of the internet history ignore the precursor
commercial activity that is basically what it is all about today. Half a story is incomplete so it doesn’t present an
accurate picture of events.  People who are confident in their description of the Internet story should not be afraid
to include the Business Model and commercial activity that existed while TCP/IP was still being developed and was
not allowed to be used for business.  That commercial activity existed and must be included.   Half a story is like
saying in WWII the allies amassed an army and arbitrarily attacked Europe to overthrow the government then
establish many new countries with new governments.  The full story tells that Hitler arbitrarily invaded and
conquered the countries of Europe so the allies amassed armies to liberated the countries and restore the
governments Hitler had overthrown.  

The worlds largest commercial network that switched to TCP/IP was the IBM Global Network.  Since I worked for
IBM at the time, I have historical documentation of that commercial Internet Business Model activity.

I scanned parts of historical documents.  They are posted online on two pages. I encourage people to include any
of the Information on those two pages in their description of the Internet and it’s history.

- 1985 IBM Information Network Marketing Guide

- 1985 to 1988 announcements and News Letter articles.

In 1982, the IBM Information Network (IBM IN) began providing inter-networked business with facilities in 7 major
USA locations. It became the IBM Global Network with worldwide locations. In the mid 1990s it switched from using
SNA to TCP/IP as one of many ISPs before IBM sold it to ATT. The IBM IN marketing Guide for Network Services
includes the Business Model and strategy to connect all users on all networks to allow any to any.   The concept of
inter-networked any to any includes any user to any user or any application when authorized.  Before it switched to
use TCP/IP, the IBM Global Network was not only the worlds largest inter-networked service provider; it was also
the largest customer of the three largest telephone companies in the USA.  It also owned a significant number of
miles of telephone lines. It connected millions of users and applications on thousands of networks world wide.  It
used gateways to interconnect different technologies of other service providers. All that activity instantly became
Internet activity when the IBM Global Network switched to use TCP/IP.
How to have a Secure Internet

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.
By definition, the Internet is the interconnection of all networks. It can
use any protocol.

IP is the computer language used by the interconnected networks.

WWW is a user tool for displaying and addressing information placed
into IP packets for transport on the interconnected networks.