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20 Years of Service: A look back at the internet

Bowling Green, Kentucky (April 13, 2021) - Celebrating Connected Nation’s 20-year anniversary is an exciting time for the organization. It is only fitting that we look back to the beginning and pay tribute to the subject we are so passionate about: the internet. Over the next several weeks, we will bring you highlights of the broadband evolution taking place since the birth of Connected Nation. It is quite a history, and the changes are breathtaking.  

By the year 2000, the internet was nine years old, a young child at best, and AOL was the most popular service provider, offering its users a dial-up connection. Download speeds were offered at 69.2 kbits (kilobit per seconds). To try to understand this: 1 Kilobit is equal to 0.0001 Megabit, and the FCC defines broadband at a minimum of 25 Mbps for downloading today. We have come a long way.

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In the year 2000, Consumers had a choice of using their telephone to make a call or browsing online. They could not do both at the same time. The internet could not really download video, but peer-to-peer music downloading became popular only to be considered digital piracy that faced numerous legal battles.  

Social networking really took off in the year 2000. It has been called the era of the mobile computer. It was the beginning of the greatest change to our culture, politics, and how we relate to each other. Social networking began to define us a people. We were introduced to new ways of thinking because we were connected to people around the world. Why did this happen? Broadband replaced the dial-up service. 

Broadband can be defined as any connection other than dial-up service. It was expensive, but it allowed you to split your telephone line, the speeds were faster, and allowed for video downloading. A host of new infrastructure and software became available to us, and we will look more closely at this in future blogs. We can say, though, the year 2000 forever changed our society, both good and bad, and it is fascinating to see the internet that once was only used for social networking become a vital necessity to our everyday lives. 

Pam Waggoner

About the Author: Pam Waggoner is a Community Technology Advisor for Connected Nation. She coordinates and manages the activities of planning teams in support of Connected Nation’s Connected Community Engagement Program and the development of community-specific community team creation, data gathering, and technology action planning.