The Internet started when the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) of the United States Defense Department began a network called ARPANET in 1969. In 1973, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) initiated a research program to investigate techniques and technologies for interlinking packet networks of various kinds. The objective was to develop communication protocols which would allow networked computers to communicate transparently across multiple, linked packet networks. This was called the Internetting project and the system of networks which emerged from the research was known as the "Internet." The system of protocols which was developed over the course of this research effort became known as the TCP/IP Protocol Suite, after the two initial protocols developed: Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP).
The Internet was conceived in the 1960s as a tool to link university and government research centers via a nationwide network that would allow a wide variety of computers to exchange information and share resources. The engineering challenges were manifold and complex, beginning with the design of a packet switching network-a system that could make computers communicate with each other without the need for a traditional central system. Other challenges included the design of the machines, data exchange protocols, and software to run it. What eventually grew out of this endeavor is a miraculous low-cost technology that is swiftly and dramatically changing the world. It is available to people at home, in schools and universities, and in public libraries and "cyber cafes."
The Internet is not owned or controlled by any company, corporation, or nation. It connects people in 65 countries instantaneously through computers, fiber optics, satellites, and phone lines. It is changing cultural patterns, business practices, the consumer industry, and research and educational pursuits. It helps people keep up to date on world events, find a restaurant in Oregon or a cheap flight to Paris, play games, and discuss everything from apples to zoology. It has marshaled support for human rights in suppressed nations, saved the life of a child in Beijing, and helped a man in Iowa find a lost family member in Brazil.
On April 3, 1973, Martin Cooper made the first cellular phone call.