An abridged history of the Aussie internet

An abridged history of the Aussie internet

Summary: Journalist Glenda Korporaal has written "20 years of the internet in Australia" to commemorate two decades of AARNET. On this week's Twisted Wire I talk to Glenda and Chris Hancock, the CEO of AARNET.


It's 20 years since AARNET was founded which, most would say, marked the foundation of the internet in Australia. It was a network open only to academics at Australia's universities and research institutions. The potential in those very early days seemed to have passed Telecom by.

It was 1994 before AARNET opened its network up and allowed resellers to sell-on services to other customers. The names of those early resellers are household names today and some of those people tinkering in the early days of the internet now head our larger ISPs.

Journalist Glenda Korporaal has written 20 years of the internet in Australia to commemorate two decades of AARNET. On this week's Twisted Wire I talk to Glenda, from a beach in WA, and to Chris Hancock, the CEO of AARNET.

Next week I plan to look at the internet in 20 years time, so email, tweet (@zdnetaustralia) or post your predictions below.

Topics: Browser, Broadband, Emerging Tech


Phil Dobbie has a wealth of radio and business experience. He started his career in commercial radio in the UK and, since coming to Australia in 1991, has held senior marketing and management roles with Telstra, OzEmail, the British Tourist Authority and other telecommunications, media, travel and advertising businesses.

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  • The internet in the future

    I envisage the internet will be a slightly different beast of not just web-pages, emails and online movies.

    Especially as the NBN forges ahead with every home able to be connected to the network - I beleive in the future that every home WILL always be connected to the network, regardless if the home user actually has an ISP account to access the 'commercial' internet.

    The access would be to a basic, public network that allows the integration of future 'smart' devices to be connected (either as a back-to-base, or local peer-to-peer) to manage the efficient use of energy within our homes.

    For example, appliances like air-conditioners and fridges that have ability to communicate with either directly with the electricity provider or other appliances within the neighbourhood. Will the devices working 'in-sync', the timing of the power load shared across the network.

    So rather than having each appliance working individually, cycling on and off, this results in peaks and troughs of power usage. With the appliances part of a larger 'connected' network, they coordinate their on/off cycles to balance the load and use power more efficiently.

    Obviously, these smart appliances would need to connect somehow - and it really wouldn't be feasible to expect the home owner to have an internet account connected to allow these appliances to communicate. They should be able to simply 'plugged' in and be able to use the basic, public network which would ultimately be for the benefit for all of us using less power.

    This basic, public network could also offer basic connectivity to essential services or sites as homes become more connected and interactive.

    An example of this may be like a form of 'universal service obligation' so that every household has access to essential services at no cost such as e-health services and government departments through the use of home touchpads/screens. This network could also be used as a public broadcasting system in times of disasters and events (such as the bushfires).
  • Future Web....

    Will not be known as the Internet, the 'Net, the Web, the InterWeb, or any other now used term.

    It'll be called The Worx.

    Everyone will Work, Operate, Rock on, and eXplore in a way never before imagined.

    The Worx will be integrated into everything we look at, see, touch, feel, and our bodies.

    Trees will learn to walk, and dogs will learn to talk.

    Babies wont be born, they'll just grow like corn.

    Time wont tell when the clocks bell. Everyone will be an individual in their own little cell.

    Sex will be best sitting in your seat looking at your feet!