Did you know that the Internet was designed in part to provide a communications network that would work even if some of the sites were destroyed by nuclear attack. If the most direct route was not available, routers would direct traffic around the network via alternate routes.

Back in 1993 I had the pleasure of working with one of the first ISP’s in Colorado called Internet Express.  We were connected to Colorado Supernet which was one of the first Internet service providers anywhere, receiving state funding to promote the use of the Internet within Colorado for research, education, and– for the first time– business and consumers.

Internet Express was headquartered in Colorado Springs and eventually was the precipice for USA.net.  USA.net was formed when John Street had the idea that people would want a national portable email address instead of changing every time they switched ISPs.  “Founded” in 1996, USA.NET is now a recognized leader in hosted messaging and collaboration.

Anyway, back then Klaus Dimmler came to John with an idea, he wanted to expand his company “Community News Service” which was selling access to the internet as an ISP  using the first  friendly interface, called gopher along with a GUI he developed , to access the information on the Internet.  This was an important advancement as it took no knowledge of Unix or computer architecture to use a gopher system, you type or click on a number to select the menu selection you want.  John owned Telephone Express, a regional Long Distance company (where I also worked at the time), offering LD service in and outside of Colorado and became convinced that “this Internet thing” was worth an investment.

Ah the memories of installing  9600 bps internal modems in switch rooms and other points of presence and how quickly we got to 56K modems instead (we were an X2 shop 🙂 and celebrated when V90 came along)

I think about this because I really enjoyed bringing a new “cutting edge” service to the folks in Colorado prior to the World Wide Web. By the mid 90s, Gopher had largely ceased expanding and was quickly being replaced by browsers, such as Mosiac and later Netscape Navigator (ie the World Wide Web). But, I have them memories of being there in those early days, heck, think about it, in 1993 AOL 1.0 for Microsoft Windows 3.x just launched!

Check out this news report from 1995.

Looking at what the Internet is today from where I started, I wonder what it can become over the next twenty years?

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