When The Did The Internet Become Available For Personal Use In Households?


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Julii Brainard answered
It depends when and where you're talking about.

The Internet is an American invention (to transfer data between military and education computers). In the 1980s you could for free dial up (via modem) privately-owned servers that would let you transfer files or participate in different online discussion fora (such as Usenet). All you needed was a modem, a terminal, the phone number and permission from the system administrator. Oh, and to know how to use the primitive (usually command line) software interfaces at both ends.

Getting Internet access in the UK was a lot harder, until the early 1990s. When the World Wide Web got invented, there was suddenly motivation (potential profits to be made) in ensuring home access using a friendly (graphic) interface for everyone. The UK academic network (Janet) decided to allow direct access to the Internet too, in late 1992. Private industry networks had paid for the linkage sometime earlier. So many people (UK or USA) could get to the net using a graphic interface by dialing up work, by the early 1990s.

Private access from home for anyone was a little later, about 1994-1995. AOL was the main pioneering ISP to target private home users (in both UK and USA), but little companies soon sprouted up everywhere to offer competing services.

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