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4 min read

The Evolution of the Internet: A Fitzrovia IT Timeline Since 1999

As technology is so vital to business stability and growth, it’s essential for IT teams and CTOs to keep abreast of current trends, releases, and updates. As so often we’re looking towards the future with technology - anticipating welcome developments - we rarely take stock of what has come before, and weigh up just how rapidly the internet and technology has developed over the past half century.

As we recently shared on our social media channels, there have been significant advancements made in technology and the internet since Fitzrovia IT’s inception in 1999. The current IT landscape is almost unrecognisable from the one our IT engineers faced in the late 20th century, with many changes being made to the technologies we use in both our personal and professional lives. Whether all these changes have proved positive or negative is down to individual opinion, however, keep reading for a summary of a brief timeline of the internet since its foundation.

The Origins: Pre-1999


The internet is credited as first coming into existence thanks to the prior research of American computer scientist, Leonard Kleinrock. In 1961 he released writings on ARPANET, the predecessor of the internet - in 1969 the first ARPANET message was sent from UCLA to the Stanford Research Institute, although a first attempt failed when the SRI system crashed.

However, it wasn’t until January 1, 1983 that internet we more closely recognise came into being - with this being considered its official birthday. Despite the presence of ARPANET in the preceding decade, the standardised Transfer Control Protocol/Internetwork Protocol (TCP/IP) was established in 1983. From here, researchers began to develop and assemble the ‘network of networks’ that functions as the modern internet.

In 1990 the web as we know it was fully formed, as Tim Berners-Lee launched the ‘World Wide Web’. Often confused, the internet and the web have differences in function. As the web is actually the most ‘common means of accessing data online in the form of websites and hyperlinks’.

Fitzrovia IT is Born: 1999


In 1999 Fitzrovia IT was born as an in-house IT support team, starting out as a small team of dedicated IT specialists. Whilst we’ve now grown into a 60-strong standalone MSP, specialised in providing the best in managed services to our clients, the toolset and technology we use now are significantly different to the those of 23 years ago. At the time of our inception, there were only 361 million internet users worldwide - a significantly tinier amount than the 4.66 billion people currently online (around half the global population. So, whilst we see the major events currently occurring around us - what were the big tech and internet moments of 1999?


  • The first ever ‘Wiki’ was introduced with the launch of WikiWikiWeb on March 25th 1999 - the precursor to Wikipedia.

  • The Victoria’s Secret show was the first major webcast ever witnessed on the internet, attracting over 1.5 million viewers - its success was so great that many were unable to view the stream, crashing the site. In a world in which livestreaming and video content are so readily available, it feels a far throw to know that Victoria’s Secret started the phenomenon in 1999.

  • Melissa Virus, a major email hack was released by David Smith - becoming the fastest spreading virus in history at that point, causing over $80 million worth of damage to computers globally.

  • The most expensive Internet domain yet seen was sold in 1999, with Marc Ostrofsky selling ‘bussiness.com’ for $7.5 million.

  • Jeff Bezos was named Time Person of the Year on December 27, 1999 - pre-empting his major successes with Amazon.com.

The Internet Since 2000


Since 2000 the rate of change we’ve seen online has been rapid - tech companies have released software, products and new technologies at an unprecedented rate, changing the digital landscape in front of our very eyes.


  • 2000: The dot-com bubble bursts, signifying the end of this specifically tech related stock market bubble. Throughout the 1990s the tech stock market saw a period of massive growth as use of the internet significantly grew; start-ups and entrepreneurs capitalised on the increase in internet users in order to found and grow their internet concepts. However, in 2000 the bubble burst, as the dot-com start-ups burnt through their venture capital and failed to become profitable. In the aftermath of the crisis, many telecoms companies dealt with overcapacity as their internet business clients went bust.

  • 2000: Many major sites such as Yahoo and eBay were hit a large-scale Denial of Service (DoS) attack, highlighting the vulnerabilities of the internet to users and businesses. The need for improved cybersecurity was continuing to grow.

  • 2001: Following its precursor WikiWikiWeb, Wikipedia launched, changing the way in which we consume and access information globally.

  • 2003: WordPress is launched, ushering in the blogging boom, in which internet users were able to write and self-publish content online. Myspace, Skype and Safari Web browser also go online.

  • 2004: The era of social media as we know it began, with the launch of Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg’s social media start-up revolutionised online communication, paving the way for other social apps and sites to develop.

  • 2005: YouTube and Reddit went online, continuing the growing online presence of social media sites.

  • 2006: Twitter is launched by Jack Dorsey, who sends out the first ever tweet ‘just setting up my twttr.’

  • 2007: The first iPhone was released by Apple, revolutionising mobile communication technology and mobile app development.

  • 2010: Pinterest and Instagram launch, signalling a move towards increased photo sharing and visual consumption. 4G becomes more widespread, enhancing online connectivity.

  • 2018: EU GDPR regulations take effect, altering data protection policy throughout Europe, requiring businesses to alter their methods of data handling.

  • 2019: The internet turns 50! And 5G networks launch, ushering in our fastest ever levels of connectivity.

  • 2022: Today, as mentioned over 4.66 billion people are currently connected to the internet. Now we have access to novel technologies and software, using our technology on-the-go to give us greater flexibility and accessibility in our work and home lives.


This brief overview of the major tech advancements seen since 1999 may allow you to chart your businesses own IT development over the past decades. Undoubtably the prevalence of social media and increased connectivity has benefitted the growth of a multitude of businesses over the years, allowing clients and providers to communicate more effectively. It’s essential that we understand the origin and power of the technological tools we use daily in order to gain the most benefit from them, harnessing the power of tangible development and innovation.

If you want to discuss your IT infrastructure or discover how you could be getting more from your current systems and software, contact our expert team for a consultation today.

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