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World Telecommunications Day'97

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The Internet

The Internet began in 1969 as a small though initially costly project backed by the United States Government. Back then it was called the ARPANET because the agency that developed the system was called the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA).

The original network began with four users. Yes, four! By 1994, the Internet had 4 million hosts. That number more than doubled by the end of 1995 to reach 9 million hosts.

using computers to communicate While it remains a US-dominated network, annual growth of more than 50% in the number of Internet hosts is now being experienced in all regions of the world. International generic top level domain names are currently used by around 38% of all Internet hosts, with this figure expected to grow strongly as more and more businesses acknowledge the commercial benefits of having a site on the World Wide Web.

The growth of the Internet and an acknowledgement of its importance can be seen in the rate of expansion in Africa, the continent with the lowest GDP and least developed infrastructure. At present 23 out of the 53 African nations have full Internet connectivity. In the second half of 1996, there was a 50% increase in connectivity.

(Read more about the Internet and domain names...)

Activity

Research the ITU site (www.itu.ch) and the site for the African Information Society Initiative (www.bellanet.org/partners/aisi/) in order to discuss the following question:

In what ways could the Internet be a help to developing countries?

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