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The growth of the Internet

Al Gore's speech (1994) : get on board

US Vice President Al Gore's address to the 1994 Superhighway Summit at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) was a landmark event in Internet History. It wasn't so much what Mr Gore said that was significant. More, it was what it represented - the first time a really major politician had acknowledged the potential of the Internet to change society.

Commercialisation of the Internet (1994) : the marketers take over the geeks' paradise

1994 was the year that the Internet went commercial. Pizza Hut started accepting orders for a mushroom, pepperoni with extra cheese over the Net, whilst Japan's Prime Minister went on-line at You could hear and see the Rolling Stones' Voodoo Lounge tour on-line if you could afford the connection charges. Meanwhile 'backbone' traffic across the Internet topped 10 trillion bytes a month in that year.

Office working

Internet usage grows : one in two and rising

With more than half the homes in Britain now wired to the World Wide Web, it's easy to forget how far and how fast Internet usage has grown since 1990.

When former U.S. President Bill Clinton arrived in the White House in 1993, there were 50 sites on the Web. When he left office in 2001, there were 350 million.

Now, the country with the largest proportion of Internet users is the USA, followed by Japan. The UK comes third, slightly ahead of Canada and Germany.

Online at home

Moving at Web speed (1990) : doubling up and moving on

In under a decade, we have seen the Internet and World Wide Web begin to revolutionize the way people interact, learn and communicate.

The main thing about the Internet is how fast it's all happened. That speed has made fortunes - and lost them as well.

On-line activity didn't start with the Internet. Before the 'Net' was available for general use there were hundreds of thousands of personal computer users (mainly in the USA) sending and receiving electronic mail messages using dial-up systems from the mid-1980s onwards.

Easy access to the Internet finally arrived in the mid 1990s. The 16 million users on-line in 1995 has kept doubling each year to reach the present total of over 500 million.

fun and games

Can you beat our games? Explode equipment to see what's inside, hear the changing sounds of telecommunications, see how telecommunications designs have changed over time or send an e-postacard.

what's on

The UK's first permanent gallery dedicated to the history of information and communication technologies opens in the new Information Age gallery at London’s Science Museum.

audio history

Take a trip down memory lane with extracts of the interviews which have been recorded as part of the Connected Earth oral history programme.

featured story

100 years of automatic switching!
In 1912 the GPO installed Britain's first automatic telephone exchange in Epsom.

Discover the early days of the telephone...