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IS 'INTERNET' FREE .. almost, and thank God for that!

The rate card in 1995 put out by VSNL, the monopoly provider of internet in India then tells us a story. What changed therefore, is nothing short of a miracle. The precursor to the internet was Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), which was first used in 1969 and decommissioned in 1989 by the US.

ARPANET diminished as other networks overtook it in the mid-1980s and eventually the National Science Foundation Network replaced it in 1986.

With David Letterman in 1995

Bill Gates got many things spot on. He foresaw smartphones, he predicted that streaming video would overtake TV and he knew that Facebook was coming. Letterman thought Gates was joking when he heard that the Internet would allow people to watch a baseball game whenever they wanted instead of live.

He described internet as “A place where people can publish information. They can have their own homepage, companies are there, and the latest information."

But it is most interesting that even he regarded the internet as a discovery or science rather than as an invention or technology to be exploited.

But in 2023 as we look back, it is safe to say that the world we knew changed fortuitously for us, even as we regard 'internet' as a free source which it almost is.

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