The Basics of the Internet
In order to connect people, data must travel over long distances. To do this, a system called a backbone is built. This system is made of long-distance networks and fiber optic cables. The backbone market is highly competitive, and providers often connect to each other at Internet exchange points (IEPs) located in major cities. These connections make it easier for providers to improve their services. The modern internet is built upon hundreds of thousands of miles of cables. Most of them are made from hair-thin fibre optics, which carry data at the speed of light. The internet has many uses beyond providing information. Email, for instance, is a communications tool used by many people. The concept of email predates the creation of the Internet. It is possible to send a message to multiple recipients at the same time and include files in the message. It is also possible to send messages to multiple email addresses. Internet access is widespread among Americans. The Pew Research Center estimates that 89% of the population in the United States is connected. The majority of those who are not connected are older, less educated, and in rural areas. While the west dominates the internet, other parts of the world aren’t far behind. According to Pew Research Center, China has a population of more than 800 million people, but 40% of the population is still offline. In India, it’s estimated that 60% of the population is offline. The internet’s origins can be traced back to the 1960s, when the United States Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) decided to develop a computer network called the ARPANET. The system was designed to allow computers in different universities to talk to each other. After the Cold War, the Internet became commercially funded, and began to expand worldwide. Today, the internet has become the largest network in the world. Originally a research project in 1969, it has grown into a commercial network and is used by more than two billion people worldwide. Its decentralized nature allows thousands of organizations to maintain their own networks and negotiate voluntary interconnection agreements. Most people access the content of the internet through a web browser. But the Internet has many other applications and uses. In the past, Internet service was limited to government agencies or specific university departments. However, in the late 1980s, the technology developed to make it available to the general public. Initially, consumers gained access to the Internet through a dial-up connection. During the 1990s, the number of ISPs rose to several thousand. This increased accessibility paved the way for the creation of the Internet economy. Many ISPs now use fiber optic cables to connect homes and small businesses.