General Paper: What Use Is The Internet? The internet is the world's largest, globally inter-linked network of computer systems. It allows users to transmit and receive data digitally, across the telephone network system. This concept of data transmission on a world-wide scale, has opened the doors to a vast range of possibilities for this data sharing capability. Initially, the internet was developed under a government funded project called ARPANET (Advanced Research Project Agency), in late 1962, directed by members of MIT who saw great potential in the ability to transmit data across a global network system i.e. the telephone system. The intention was mainly to design a system that would enable the sharing of information on research and development on scientific and military aspects. In addition, it was to provide an alternative communication network, which could be re-directed across a number of alternative routes, in the event that a site was destroyed by nuclear attack. Since the internet's first stages of development, today, it is still used as a data sharing agent. Whilst in the past, it was used primarily used by government specialist and large organizations, it can now be found in use, in the homes of more than 500 million households worldwide, according to estimated statistics at Telecom from a number of surveys in August 2001. This figure accounts for around 100% of the world population. The increasing number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) has allowed millions of remote country residents', access to the network, contributing to the 17%growth rate in internet usage. Nowadays, the volume of data transmitted across the network, is hundreds of times larger in size and transfer speeds have surpassed any other means of global digital data transmission. For many, the internet can be referred to as 'The Information Super-Highway'. The millions of users connected to the internet can broadcast their data from their computer to the network, providing the user with a near limitless scope of fields of information and educational resources, such as current news, sports, inventions, discoveries and research material. The main problem with this is that some of it may not be very reliable and often specific topics may be difficult to find. Along with the development of the internet, the number of possibilities of uses for it has increased tremendously. Besides simple text-based information, the foundation of the internet, a variety of audio and visual components is now available. These include pictures, graphics, movies and videos, sounds, interactive tools, colour-rich diagrams and charts, which help enhance the user's research and educational experience. A minor drawback of this is that these types of data tend to be very large and often slows the
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