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About the Internet

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How it works

Unlike the telephone network, which for years in most countries was run by a single company, the global Internet consists of tens of thousands of interconnected networks run by service providers, individual companies, universities, governments, and others. Open standards enable this network of networks to communicate. This makes it possible for anyone to create content, offer services, and sell products without requiring permission from a central authority.

Who makes it work

The Internet ecosystem is made of many organizations and communities that help the Internet work and evolve. The rapid and continued development and adoption of Internet technologies can be attributed to the involvement of a broad range of people and organizations; open, transparent, and collaborative processes; and the use of products and infrastructure with dispersed ownership and control.

“The Internet belongs to everyone and no one.”

– Bruce Sterling, Short History of the Internet

Facts and figures

Who uses the Internet? How is it used? How does it affect us? The Internet is constantly changing, and understanding and measuring it is a challenge. We’ve collected a variety of resources for Internet statistics, trends, and demographics.

Nonprofit

The Internet Society’s Global Internet Report
The forces of change that will shape the Internet.

Center for Applied Internet Data Analysis (CAIDA)
Internet data from and across a wide variety of Internet infrastructure.

Mozilla’s Internet Health Report
What’s happening to the health of the Internet.

NSRC Connectivity Providers Database
International networking developments and Internet connectivity providers, with major emphasis on countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Oceania.

RIPE Atlas Analyses and Use Cases
A global network of probes that measure Internet connectivity and reachability, providing an understanding of the state of the Internet in real time.

The World Bank
Individuals using the Internet (% of population).

Commercial

Internet World Stats
The big picture of world Internet users and population statistics.

Internet Traffic Report
The flow of data around the world.

Akamai Research
The state of the Internet.

Oracle/Dyn Research
Internet routing and performance data.

Statista
Internet usage worldwide: statistics and facts.

A Brief History of the Internet

The Internet today is a widespread information infrastructure, the initial prototype of what is often called the National (or Global or Galactic) Information Infrastructure. Its history is complex and involves many aspects

How the Internet is evolving

The evolution of the Internet is happening now. More than just its infrastructure, how we use it and where we use it to connect are in a state of continuous change. What might the Internet look like in 10 years? What are some of the biggest challenges we face, and how can we ensure the continued development of an open Internet for everyone, everywhere?

Shape Tomorrow

Help preserve the foundations on which the Internet was built and join us in keeping it open, global and available to all.