CBC Digital Archives

A computer network called 'Internet'

From early dreams of global information networks to the dominance of the World Wide Web, networked computers have changed the way Canadians interact with the world. For more than three decades the CBC has reported these advances, some revolutionary, others mere flashes in the technological pan. From ARPANET to MP3s, we look at Canada's first steps onto the information highway, and the people who took us there.

media clip
Punctuation marks that look like smiley faces express happiness on a new communication tool known as "Internet." The computer network is already being used by 15 million people worldwide to chat or do important research. Communication may be anonymous and isolated, but there's always someone to talk to about sports, recipes or politics.
"In this world there's a table with a big sign on it saying football," explains a computer expert in this CBC Television clip.

There is a specific sense of community and fellowship on Internet, television reporter Bill Cameron demonstrates in a "real-time chatroom."
• Although the internet didn't emerge publicly until the 1990s, an early version of the network was used by the U.S. government's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

• DARPA used the telecommunication lines to link computers during the 1960s. The agency, which emerged out of Cold War fear, created the network so government had a computer system capable of resisting nuclear attack.

• Computers accelerated the sharing of information, especially by way of the internet, which in some cases has contributed to stock market uncertainty. Constant sharing of stock tips on the internet has led to more regular stock market crashes. One such example was the 1998 Asian Crisis.

• Symbols constructed using punctuation to express emotions, as seen in this CBC Television clip, are called "emoticons."   These keyboard characters, in place of facial expressions, help establish a tone that can be otherwise lost or misconstrued with electronic communication. 
Medium: Television
Program: Prime Time News
Broadcast Date: Oct. 8, 1993
Guest: John Allen
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Reporter: Bill Cameron
Duration: 6:22

Last updated: October 10, 2014

Page consulted on October 16, 2014

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