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A Happy Birthday to the World Wide Web

On the 12th of March 1989, 34 year old British physicist Tim Berners-Lee submitted a proposal for an information management system that would be used in his lab at the research institute CERN. The solution, which he called “Mesh” at the time was referred to as    “Vague, but exciting” by his supervisor Mike Sendall.

This proposed system became the infrastructure for the World Wide Web. 25 years and more than one billion websites later it has become an important part of our existence. Several notable events have occurred since 1989 and despite airs of doubt from several observers it’s easy to see how this invention helped in sharing information and ideas and bringing the world together.

Here are just a handful of interesting facts associated with the Web since its inception.

  • On the 8th of August 1991 the first website went online
  • In 1990 Tim Berners-Lee used a NeXT Computer as the first ever web server and to write the first web browser – WorldWideWeb
  • The first photo was uploaded in 1992 by Berners-Lee.
  • On the 30th of April 1993 CERN, the Swiss Research Institute where Berners-Lee launched the internet announced that the World Wide Web would be free to everyone. This marked the birth of the free digital era.
  • In 1994 Zimbabwe’s first ISP Data Control and Systems was established as an affiliate of UUNET Internet Africa. It had an estimated 3000 users connected through 100 dial-in modems and an  internet backbone link of  128kbps
  • In 1995 Newsweek ran an article stating that websites would never replace newspapers and that no one would ever buy anything over the Web. The article later became an iconic reference to the way in which technology manages to disrupt industries and approaches in ways that “experts” may not be able to fully understand.
  • In 1997 Zimbabwe’s PTC established a national and international internet backbone with a 256kbps link to the US and POPs in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru and Mutare. The service was operated as a wholesale facility for resale by the private ISPs.
  • On the 21st of October 2010 Econet Wireless Zimbabwe launched Zimbabwe’s first nationwide broadband service on a US$100 million network. This ushered in the era of mobile internet access in Zimbabwe.
  • In January 2014 POTRAZ released statistics showing local internet subscription at 5,2 million users.

A quarter of a century later the Web continues to have an increasing influence to how things are changing in the digital age and as the whole world wishes the Web a happy birthday we look forward to a greater impact and more positive disruptions.


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