Milestones in broadband: A brief timeline

From ARPANET to, here are some landmark events defining the broadband age.

1969 – The first node is connected to the internet’s military ancestor, ARPANET.

1992 – Number of connected Internet hosts reaches 1 million.

1993 – Marc Andreesen of the National Center for SuperComputer Applications launches Web-browser Mosaic. The browser is a massive success and businesses start to notice the Web’s potential.

1995 –, an online bookseller that pioneers e-commerce and eBay, an online trading site, are launched.

1997 – Nortel introduces the world’s first 1 Mbps modem service that delivers connections over cable instead of phone dial-up. More than 20 times faster than the 56 Kbps dial-up modem typically used by consumers, it paves the way for mass adoption of cable-based broadband.

1998 – Google launches, pioneering a search tool that uses a ranking system based on links to assess a Web site’s popularity.

1999 – Napster is launched, offering peer-to-peer software that enables Internet users to swap MP3 music files stored on their computers. Record labels sue the company, and the site is effectively shut down by 2001.

2001 – iTunes is introduced by Apple, offering a digital media player that can connect to the iTunes Store to legally download music and other digital content such as TV shows.

2004 – 51% of American Web surfers use a broadband connection, surpassing dial-up connections for the first time.

2005 – YouTube is launched, offering a video sharing web site where users can upload and view video clips. In 2006, Google acquires the company for US$1.65 billion in Google stock.

2006 – Joost (created by the founders of Skype and Kazaa) is launched, offering a system for distributing TV shows and other video using peer-to-peer TV technology.

2012 – Broadband subscribers are expected to reach 500 million worldwide.

Sources: Hobbes’ Internet Timeline, Nielsen/NetRatings, Paul Budde Pty Ltd.