30th Anniversary of Internet in UK

30years.gifA Celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the first “international” connection of the ARPANET and 30 years of “International Packet Networking”.

Although today’s Internet was launched in 1983, its development started in back in the 1960s. The first ever connection of the ARPANET (predecessor of today’s Internet) was with University College London and Kjeller Norway in 1973. See below for details of the week of events planned to clebrate this key milestone in the development of the global Internet.


Inside track: Preparations for the Birthday!

When I became Chairman of ISOC England in November 2002, one of my stated objectives was to promote a basic understanding of what is the Internet, its history, its “now”, and critical issues for delivering “Next Generation Internet”.

Today, the Internet is global, a key part of “critical infrastructure” and an integral part of our everyday lives, with us becomingly increasingly more dependent on its functioning reliably, securely, and with resilience. Yet, there is very little understanding of even the basics, including amongst some governments and others, who are considering key decisions in relation to the future of the Internet and its governance.

Early in 2003, over lunch, Peter Kirstein, our UK “Father of the Internet”, agreed to give a lecture on 25th July 2003 (the 30th anniversary of the first “international” connection of the ARPANET) in which he would give us the facts and “inside track” of the history of “international packet networking” and the early days of the “international” development of the ARPANET (and subsequently the Internet).

What transpired was an amazing tale of human as well as technological achievement (with the UK and University College London playing a major role!), with the lessons learned being just as relevant now to the current challenges facing us in relation to the Internet.

With thanks to Afilias who generously provided sponsorship and xpedita who did the work, we filmed Peter’s “Birthday Lecture”. You can view the webcast of this (and download his PowerPoints and a transcript) on our special “30th Birthday” website, www.i-internet30.info. Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn subsequently corrected some of Peter’s facts, and the transcript was “updated” with a few amendments for “historical accuracy”.

Peter was awarded a CBE in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours for “services to internetworking research”, and also recognised with the Internet Society’s Postel Award. Peter also celebrated his 70th Birthday at about the same time, as did Vint his 60th birthday. This was the inspiration for these “birthday celebrations”.

Vint and Bob agreed to visit London to join us in the “birthday celebrations”, which will include them both being inaugurated into the Honorary Fellowship of University College London. We wish this week to provide the focal point for a “fresh look” at where we (and the Internet) are today, and to look to the future “mindful of the past” by “grasping the nettle” in terms of key issues for the Internet going forward.

We are delighted and honoured that both Vint and Bob are able to be in London in person. We hope it will be enjoyable, as well as stimulating real debate on the key issues of today. It is our future, and our choice!

Tricia Drakes

Chair, ISOC England

16 November 2003


Visit to London by Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn, 18-21 November 2003

Schedule of “30th Birthday” Events

Tuesday 18 November 2003

Royal Institute of British Architects 66 Portland Place London W1B 1AD

10:30 – 11:30: Press Briefing

12 noon – 14.30: “Vint Cerf & Bob Kahn Meet the BBC” (Presentations, “open forum” discussion)

University College London, Gower Street, London WC1H 9EZ

From 17:00:

Inauguration of Vint Cerf & Bob Kahn to the Honorary Fellowship of University College London

Professor Mark Handley’s inaugural lecture: “The Internet, the last 30 years and the next 30 years

Reception & Dinner


Wednesday 19 November 2003

University College London, Gower Street, London WC1H 9EZ

12:00– Buffet Reception with Vint Cerf & Bob Kahn

14:00 – 16:00 (in the Darwin Theatre @ UCL) “The Internet – Critical Infrastructure, Everyone & Everywhere
Vint Cerf, Bob Kahn, Peter Kirstein (& “guests”) share their “top ten priority areas” for the Internet going forward, followed by “Open Forum Discussion”

17h00 onwards: Venue: University College London, Gower Street, London WC1H 9EZ

Thursday 20 November 2003

Greig City Academy, Hornsey

10:00 – 13:00: “The Fathers of the Internet meet the Children of the Internet
Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn in conversation with the young people of Great Britain Hosted by Greig City Academy with live video-conference link ups with schools in Southwark (Archbishop Michael Ramsay Technology College), Merseyside (New Heys Community School, Liverpool) and Northern Ireland (Ballyclare High School).

School Standards Minister, David Miliband will join the video-conference from the Specialist Colleges Trust Conference in Birmingham.
The event, organised by Community Action Network and the Internet Society of England, will be chaired by Charles Leadbetter.

Friday 21 November 2003

The Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AG

10:00 – 13:00 “Managing Digital Content Challenges” – Bob Kahn Seminar Presentation, response by Ted Nelson, “open forum” followed by refreshments
This event is an Oxford Internet Institute Seminar organised in collaboration with The Internet Society of England.

For further information on any of the events or on Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn’s visit please contact Tricia Drakes, Chair ISOC England tricia.drakes@parvil.demon.co.uk.