It is hard to believe that just ten short years ago, dialup Internet connections were still common. Wow, how far we have come? Today you can’t get away from high-speed online connections–they’re ubiquitous. The Internet is always there–no matter where we are–easily accessible via a tiny computer we carry around in our pockets and bags.
Today, we get annoyed when we can’t get a strong enough signal for our devices and we go to great lengths to ensure that our connections are perfect. How did we get here? When did the Trekkies (remember their communicators?) take over the world? Most importantly, where should we send our thank you cards?
The Early Beginnings
It’s important that we not forget that the Internet was originally developed for governmental use and then slowly but surely introduced and adopted by schools (universities) and libraries. While UseNet and telnet offered email and basic communications to early adopters, it wasn’t until 1993 and the advent of Internet Explorer that the idea of “the Internet in every house” really took off.
Let us all take a moment to be silent and remember the days when Internet Explorer served all of our needs.
Saving It From An Early Grave
It can be argued that the internet grew as fast as it did and became as ingrained as it has not because of the government for which it was originally intended, but because of the advertisers who saw a willing and swayable consumer audience just waiting for something on which to spend their money. After all, remember: once the government stopped sponsoring the net, it was the for-profit corporations (AOL, CompuServe, and Prodigy) who kept it alive and growing. These for profit companies not only sold access to the lines, they sold space to advertisers who could sell things on welcome screens, sidebars, etc.
Today, we take shopping online for granted but back then, the only way to make money online was to buy space on someone’s site or operating system.
Life Finding a Way
The high speed internet we all know and take for granted came about, simply, because of necessity. The older dial up modems simply could not carry information fast enough to accommodate the download speeds that were necessary for the audio and video files that users craved. In order to stay competitive (and to keep advertisers happy) the net had to adapt and find a way to keep customers connected.
This connection faced another hurdle when cellular technology started becoming more common place. As people were able to take their phones with them (and, by extension, stay connected all the time) they were spending less time at home and more time away from their computers.
Apple was the first phone to offer genuine Internet connectivity but it was only able to do this because other mobile phone manufacturers like Samsung and Nokia had figured out how to integrate cellular phones with hard drives large enough to carry photos, sound files and the software to utilize those things.
While this has never been scientifically proven, it could still be argued that internet-capable mobile devices evolved because people got tired of having to plug their phones into their computers when they wanted to share the photos they took or when they wanted to change their music selection.
Today, instead of weighing the pros and cons of whether or not to get internet, we spend hours searching the web because we know that we should only use a FiOS double play promotion code to get the best deal (if we are lucky enough to live in an area serviced by fiber optic cabling).
What do you think?