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Technology / Hardware

BT gets confused about the origins of the Internet

A new advert published by BT at the weekend created confusion on the internet’s origins.

In the ad, BT’s Openreach division claimed that the internet was invented in the UK, but the US is commonly cited as the net’s creator.

BT has acknowledged the error, with the BBC quoting a company’s spokesman as saying, "For most people, the words ‘internet’ and ‘world wide web’ are interchangeable.

"We accept the language wasn’t precise enough for some, but no harm has been done."

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The internet came into existence through Arpanet, a US government-supported scheme that dates back to the 1960s.

The initial message to be sent over the net was from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to the second network node at Stanford Research Institute (SRI).

In 1973, a university in the UK and a Norwegian research institute joined the project as the first international participants.

The internet is the global system of interconnected mainframe, personal, and wireless computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite to connect several devices worldwide.

It is quite different to the world wide web which was created in the UK by English scientist Tim Berners-Lee in 1989. The world wide web is an open source information space where documents and other web resources are identified by URLs, interlinked by hypertext links.

Computing historian Tom Lean added that people are confused about the two terms all the time.

He told the BBC : "People mistakenly conflate the internet and the world wide web all the time.

"But while Britain may not have invented the internet, not only was the web co-invented by a Brit, BT themselves rolled out the world’s first service that was a lot like the world wide web, Prestel, back in the 1980s.

"Sadly BT closed Prestel in the early 1990s, because they couldn’t interest enough people in using it."

Facebook has been working with Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Opera Software, Nokia and Qualcomm since 2013 to bring affordable access to internet services in less developed countries.

The project, founded as Internet.org, has reached 37 countries in Africa, Asia and South America, with several other countries slated to receive access.
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CBR Staff Writer

CBR Online legacy content.