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A historical example: the first commercial ISP

One of the first companies to take advantage of the new deregulation in that year was the first Internet Service Provider (ISP) named "The World" was started by Software Tool and Die (STD). Barry Shein, a former college student, soon grew to realize the marketability of the Internet access that he still enjoyed as an alum. He soon realized that this was a service that many other former students might want back. In 1989 his company was the first on the East Coast (Boston) to connect to UUnet (one of the founders of CIX) as a sort of exchange. STD agreed to let UUnet use some of its "rack" space in exchange for their providing a high-speed Internet connection. People on the East Coast who left their positions with Internet access were the first to seek out STDıs "The World" for a home Internet connection. At that point in Internet history all of the existing network service providers provided access only to information on their own networks, as well as any other networks they may have been connected to. The list of these network service providers included the future giants such as Prodigy, CompuServe, and America Online. This set "The World" apart as the first true Internet Service Provider (Wilensky). Barry Shein would prove to be one character who was instrumental to pressuring the NSF to commercialize their network (Ilacqua).

This example of the first ISP is not uncommon, many of the larger providers expanded their service to include similar services. There is no question that the Internet has become a more commercial entity. The question that remains is: How has this transition affected society as a whole?
Special thanks to Mr. Shein who contacted me in November of 2003 to very kindly correct some errors in my reporting.

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©2000 John Thomson, Jr


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