Where did the Internet come from?
During the late 1960s, a branch of the U.S. government titled the Advance Research Projects Agency (ARPA) created one of the country's first wide area packet-switched networks, called the ARPANET. Select research universities, military bases, and government labs were allowed access to the ARPANET for services such as electronic mail, file transfers. and remote logins.
In 1983, the Department of Defense broke the ARPANET into two similar networks: the original ARPANET and MILNET, for military use only. Although the MILNET remained essentially the same over time, the ARPANET was eventually phased out and replaced with newer technology. During this period, the National Science Foundation funded the creation of a new high-speed, cross country network backbone called the NFSnet. The backbone is the main telecommunication line through the network, connecting the major router sites across the country. It was to this backbone that smaller regional or mid-level (statewide) networks connected. A set of access or "campus" networks then connected to these mid-level networks. Eventually this collection of networks became known as the Internet.
During ther early 1990s, the government essentially withdrew all direct support for the Internet and turned it over to private industries and universities. Thus, there is no longer a single backbone but multiple backbones supported by different businesses and organizations, all in competition with one another.
Use of the internet has grown at a phenomenal rate.