Net Neutrality

Where Were You in 1995, When the Internet Was Privatized?

Watch the first-ever event devoted to "Internet Independence Day," when the government got out of the business of running the Internet backbone.


Where we you in 1995 when it came to the Internet, asked Daniel Berninger, the founder of VCXC, a nonprofit promoting the development of an all-IP-based telephony system.

Last night in D.C., Berninger organized and hosted the first-ever "Internet Independence Day," which celebrated 20 years of a fully privatized Internet backbone and the immense growth in connection speeds, ubiquity, and innovation. In the wake of recent FCC actions to reclassify the Internet under Title II rules, he has convened a panel of "tech elders" to promote a truly open 'net. The elders include figures ranging from John Perry Barlow to Mark Cuban to Bob Metcalfe (the inventor of ethernet).

Speakers last night included former FCC head Reed Hundt, Consumer Electronics Association head Gary Shapiro, and former Clinton administration advisor Ira Magaziner.

Click above to watch last night's event and go here to read Berninger's take on why the government should steer clear of regulating the Internet under Title II or Net Neutrality rules.

NEXT: Legislators Rebuke Officials Who Complain About Encryption

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  1. Well I was 4, so I was nowhere with regard to the internet. I do remember my parents obtaining a desktop in 1997 but I still didn’t know what the internet was back then. I just played a CD version of Frogger on it.

    In any case when net neutrality proponents talk about keeping the internet “as it is today” for the good of consumers one must imagine a world where in 1995 they made good on that proposal. How behind would we be today?

    1. They can’t grasp NN will be expanded beyond anything other than providing “fair” internet access. Just throw the word “fair” into any proposal and they’ll be for it.

    2. You’re being logical. NN proponents are not logical. They are either power-hungry bureaucrats and politicians, or they’re retarded. There are no other options.

      1. What’s sad is that the NN proponents who are from the tech world aren’t power-hungry bureaucrats nor are they particularly stupid, they are just ignorant and way over-trusting of the government since they are mostly young and haven’t been mugged by reality yet.

        It always amazed me how often I see tech savvy younger folks who could probably build a PC from scratch but have no idea why the Constitution is so important nor how basic economics actually work.

        They are the poster children for the slogan “Intelligence doesn’t necessarily equal wisdom”.

        1. They should raise the voting age to like 35 or something.

        2. So basically, what you’re saying is they’re retarded.

          1. I have a friend who is pretty high up in the Tech industry here in town and he’s pretty libertarian and can’t stand NN. But he has to act like a conservative christian Professor at Oberlin, in that he just nods his head when the rest start whining about NN.

            It is like a cult. I don’t retarded is an adequate description.

            1. The question is, where is this cult coming from? Why are so many people joining like lemmings? It’s just the strangest thing. “Get your hands on my internet” does not seem like a rallying cry that would do well, yet…here it is.

              1. Because corporations, apparently, for some mysterious reason want to piss off their customers (that’s not what I’m saying, it’s my speculation about why). And it doesn’t help that the most visible corporations in the networking industry are cable companies that everyone hates already for good reasons.

        3. You’d be surprised at how many of these “tech savvy younger folks” haven’t the foggiest idea how to build a computer. They know how to write code. They may not have a clue if it actually does the job, but they can write a lot of it, and it’s usually pretty. But they see hardware as just as magical as an English major.

          Today’s “tech savvy younger folks” are trained to write code, not educated how to perform engineering tasks.

    3. I was 4

      You need to change your handle to Grand Moff Serious Child. I have clothes older than you are.


      1. I’M A MAN, I’M A MAN, I’M A MAN! *plucks single hair off of chest and holds it up triumphantly*

        1. You mean you have to have hair on your chest to be a man? Damn! Well, I still identify as a man, at least.

          1. That’s really all that matters, these days.

        2. If you’re gonna claim to be a man do it the right way

    4. I make up to $90 an hour working from my home. My story is that I quit working at Walmart to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around $40h to $86h? Someone was good to me by sharing this link with me, so now i am hoping i could help someone else out there by sharing this link… Try it, you won’t regret it!……

  2. Where Were You in 1995, When the Internet Was Privatized?

    None of your goddamn business.

    (in class in third grade.)

  3. Where we you in 1995 when it came to the Internet,

    In my office with Mosaic, wondering who the hell would ever pay good money to register the domain My business acumen was truly on display.

  4. I was *on* the internet. With a web site of obscure 19th century german philosophy! Woohoo! Can you say “business savvy”?

  5. “Inter what?? What the hell is that? I’ve never heard of it. Are we taxing it? No? Oh, just cut the damn thing loose.”

    Government Bureaucrat, c. 1995

  6. I had just moved to Manhattan. I don’t think I had “the internet” yet at home; not long after I signed up with AOL and got “online”. However, I had a T1 at work (with absolutely no restrictions) so I could goldbrick like a champ at speeds inconceivable to the home surfer.

    1. “Goldbrick”?

      Your world frightens and confuses me. /reverse Keyrock

  7. I was in college. I had a dial up connection (14.4 modems had just come out, I believe) to the university’s kermit system. Damn, that just sounds so archaic now.

  8. Had dial up. Back then porn = Dad’s penthouse magazines. And I actually liked the penthouse stories more than the pictures.

  9. I had just moved from Buffalo to SF. I hadn’t touched a computer in almost 10 years until I fired up “Microsoft Word” for the first time at a Kinko’s in order to write my resume. I didn’t see this “Internet” thingie until I moved to NYC a year later and my buddy and I signed up for AOL.

  10. I was twelve. So I was alone in my room, um, reading.

    1. Thirtee . Same.

  11. Didn’t know what the hell the internet was, but I was dancing on your mothereffin lawns though.

  12. I was in 1995 twice. Once, originally, and then the second time when I had traveled back in time to kill someone. Or maybe it was to save someone. I forget. All I know is I ended up with the clap. Fortunately that had been cured in my time. But then I got stuck in 2008 and now I’m living with you backwards people until I fix the time machine. What was the question again?

    1. Did you cure your boneitis?

    2. Mr. Fusion comes out later this year, so you should be back to your time shortly.

  13. Working at a residential child care facility with emotionally damaged kids, teaching them to appreciate Oregon Trail and use homework programs. No internet there, but I was using it for research at home. Well, mostly research, writing my first novel. Epublishing wasn’t a thing yet.

    1. “No internet there, but I was using it for research at home. ”

      And all those models were at least eighteen.

  14. I was just some chunkety-ass 9th grade nerd.

  15. Auditing an oil company for the Muskogee Regional Office.

  16. I don’t think I ever used the internet until 1997 or so.

    1. I was using it in 1987 but I didn’t realize it until later.

  17. Some of y’all old.

    1. *stands up to storm at Xeones*

      OW, damned arthritic knee!

      *cocks back fist to swing*

      Arrgh, my elbow!

      *forgets why he was going to swing*

      When is pudding?

  18. “Where Were You in 1995, When the Internet Was Privatized?”

    Arguing with my tech savvy colleagues who were claiming that the desktop operating system wasn’t like a normal market, and therefore Microsoft needed to be regulated.

  19. I was in law school, using “electronic mail” and occasionally finding strange tidbits of information on the National Information Infrastructure.

  20. I was recently licensed (in the law) and looking for work while sole practicing – I also bar tended, delivered pizza, substitute taught 6-12th grade, worked for a temp service and was a 1LT in the USAR.

    I had my old Mac SE from Grad school and a crappy modem.

  21. 1995? Lessee… Usenet, Compuserve, AOL, eWorld(!!), BBS’s, IRC – a lot of ZTerm usage. 14.4k modem.

  22. Depending on which day, Shitting all over a nurse in a delivery room.

  23. I was still in college and working on the AT&T Worldnet ISP rollout as a subcontractor. Back then, most of our users were using Windows 3.11. The bane of our existence was the crappy computer hardware and even crappier drivers that the modem OEMs provided for their gear. Windows 95 would prove to be another learning curve for our users.

    Back then, the internet was the wild west. It was fucking AWESOME! You could say what you wanted, communicate with whomever you chose to, new programming languages were hitting the streets on a regular basis, people shared a lot of software out of the idea of an open and free digital society.

    I would finish up my work with AT&T and move on to join a small software consulting firm in late ’95 working on geospatial software for a local government agency. That is when my software career got a start. Still doing it to this day.

    Damn! I am getting old…

  24. Surfing, engineering, drinking… in no particular order

    Was one of the first in the country with a cable modem though.

    1. Where do you store those nerfs that you herd?

  25. I was at UMDNJ with an .edu Bourne shell acc’t. Some of us had Netscape. Because of time zone & traffic patterns, a frequent bit of advice was to telnet thru Pisa U. & use their Gopher, but most of us used the local Veronica.

    1. Forgot to mention that our lab’s cx to the shell was via Kermit thru audio modem. From home I could log in using Smartcom & a 14.4 faxmodem, but used it more often for BBSs. The BBSs made UUCP cx 1-3X/day, plus one was on Fidonet & another on RIME.

  26. I was in college. I remember the internet a couple of years before then. It was the first I’d ever heard of it. It was sold to me as, “You can find any guitar tab you’ll ever need on there!” You had to go to the library and log on to a green screen terminal to access the mainframe, which had internet access. And then print out your tabs or recipes or whatever on a big ass dot matrix printer.

  27. I was in the NOC at UUNET, helping to manage and build out what I believe turned out to be the largest commercial backbone in the world at the time, and hooking companies and individuals up as quickly as we could answer the telephone.

    I realized at some point that while people were excited to be connected, they had no idea that this awesome thing might also present some risk to them. One day, I threw a bit of a fit about the state of Internet security in our CEO’s office, and rather than fire me, they handed me a security business unit to start.

    That was one of those instructive moments that only come around so often in the course of one’s career.

    That network lives on inside what is now Verizon Business. (AS 701 represent!)

    Even if a guy named Bernie Ebbers hadn’t been in the picture, I’d probably be doing exactly the same work I’m doing today. It would just be interspersed with trips to some balmy island I’d happen to own.

  28. 1995? I was busy figuring out how to install a sound card in my Packard Bell 486 so I could then figure out how to make music on the computer. I also figured out how to install a dial-up modem and I did a trial of some paid service, Prodigy, I think, but didn’t really know what to make of it. I also dialed into a bulletin board or three, running up my phone bill. But eventually I got an ISP and found the internet–just not *exactly* sure when that was. I just knew you could do fancy stuff with computers, but I was busy figuring out exactly what you could do and how you did it.

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