Over the last sixty years, the internet has revolutionized the world; with an impact on each and every individual, it has virtually made the world a global village. To say the least, the history of this transformational phenomenon is complex and involves numerous aspects affecting our society and life as we move through it.
In 1958, AT&T’s Bell Labs achieved an unprecedented milestone, which allowed them to transmit binary data through a modem over a copper telephone cable. This transmission allowed them to develop a video-calling platform during the 1960s, known as the ‘Picture-phone’.
However, the Picture-phone was excessively expensive and impractical; therefore, couldn’t become a business prospect and the idea was abandoned.
The Road to the First True Internet
In 1967, the basis of the internet was laid when the idea of ARPAnet was publicly revealed during a historically significant convention. APRA funded by the US Defence department worked on the concept of communication and used packet switching to realize the idea.
Furthermore, in 1968, APRA developed a Wide Area Packet Switched Network on four test computers with the purpose of communication and information sharing. A year later in 1969, this system went into operation in the Defence Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). However, the ARPAnet was officially decommissioned in 1990.
Eventually, the very first large-scale internet was created which consisted of a set of interconnected US military computers. In 1991, the horizon widened and Word Wide Web (WWW) was developed and introduced by Tim Berners-Lee. In no time, researchers had started designing websites and browsers.
Internet in Pakistan
The internet came to Pakistan in the year 1993 as a UNDP-funded project called SDNPK also known as ‘Sustainable Development Networking Program.’ In 1995, Digicom launched an online dialup service from Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad which offered a download speed of 64 kbps.
This was the same year that the concept of Broadband was introduced in the country. That same year, Paknet, which was a subsidiary of the state-owned Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), offered its dial-up text-based Internet services in three major cities of the country.
After PTCL, citizens of Pakistan were introduced to names like COMSATS and Cybernet as the first private Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
By 1998 the government of Pakistan exempted Internet calls from multi-metering or overcharging. Pakistan had its first broadband service called ‘DSL’ which was offered by Micronet.
Owing to the growing needs of the country’s internet connectivity, PTCL emerged to the situation and as a consortium member of SEAMEWE-3 (Southeast Asia Middle East & Western Europe) brought the first-ever submarine cable system into Pakistan in March 2000.
The longest cable in the world connected 35 countries and had 39 landing stations. Later in 2006, Transworld also provided 1300 Kms. long TW-1 connecting Karachi with Oman.
Fiber to the Home (FTTH)
Quite recently, Pakistan became one of the very few countries in Asia to have FTTH (Fiber-to-the-Home) triple services which are available in all major cities of the country.
Today, PTCL is set to become a premier FTTH (Fiber to the Home) internet service provider sweeping its network throughout Pakistan, including the interior Sindh and Baluchistan, with the motto of ‘Nation’s Connection’.
Not only does it offer the furthest reach, but its services are available at consumer-friendly rates that make it the first choice for millions of internet users for the past two and a half decades.
The conception, survival, and evolution of the internet have been nothing but remarkable. It would be unwise to assume that this is it as far as its evolution goes. It has, will, and must continue to evolve as we move forward into a future where services such as real-time transport and space travel will become a norm in the lives of common people.