• The Internet is the generic service par excellence: neutral interconnection of automatic information.
  • At a global level obviously: the Internet has no boundaries, by definition.
  • An elementary corollary of the history, and historiography of the net, is that the "Italian contribution to the evolution of the Internet" is a coin with two faces: local implementation of structural network nodes, and their respective coordination at international level.
  • In practice: in the 1980s, all over the world, at different rhythms and speeds depending on the country, the avant-garde university and research communities adopted, imported, distributed locally, and tested various prototypes of networks to provide fundamental services: distribution of calculations, transfer of files and email.
  • At the time the following were all competing to become standard:
    • some proprietary networks [foremost DECNET developed by Digital and SNA by IBM];
    • an institutional network politically tied to European institutions [X25 OSI];
    • and a more flexible network, developed in the US but open and neutral, non-proprietary by design as it grew from an academic military matrix [ARPANET]: the protocol stack TCP/IP.
  • From the beginning of the 90s network watchers all noticed a simple truth: "everyone wants TCP/IP".
  • The aspect we would like to document in this section is the process by which Italy was one of the first transatlantic countries to embrace the international hegemony of the Internet as we know it now, the neutral version that went on to become dominant.
  • Classic cases regarding the Italian contribution to the evolution of the Internet were a timely interface between CNUCE and ARPANET and soon after the accreditation that IANA conferred on 23 December 1987 [one of the first European delegations], again on CNR-CNUCE, for the management of the ccTLD .it.
  • The sequence of events begins with the original Italian growth of these networks and documents national developments and international co-ordination of their structural nodes:
    • Research Networks;
    • Registries of Domain Names;
    • Regulatory and Protocols Offices;
    • Operators' Internet Exchanges.
  • The section ends with the progressive transfer of know how from the academic and research networks to civil use and finally business: at the dawn of mass-use Internet, when the Internet "swamps the market" and starts to affect the way of life of common people.
Happy Birthday ISOC