I had the pleasure of giving a talk at HEAnet’s National Conference 2019 last Friday on Ireland’s internet history as seen from INEX’s perspective. HEAnet is a founding member of INEX and one of our greatest supporters. They were the first to order a 10Gb port way back when they were new and shiny; and again the first to order a 100Gb port when they became available in 2015. Both of these were collaborative efforts allowing us each to get familiar with this new technology.
Ireland’s internet history – especially the dial-up era – has many fascinating stories. I was of school-going age when this all kicked off but there are some recent excellent projects covering the era and well worth a bedtime read.
- The History of the Irish Internet – internethistory.ie – by Niall Richard Murphy. As well as telling his own story, Niall sat down with luminaries of that era including INEX’s own Nick Hilliard and Barry Rhodes.
- The TechArchives project which collects stories about Irelandâ€™s long and convoluted relationship with information technology and preserves them. This is done through personal testimonies and includes people such as Barry Flanagan who formed one of Ireland’s first dial-up ISPs from his garage in Galway and gave me my start in the ISP industry; and Barry Rhodes whose history with Ireland’s internet starts long before INEX.
- For INEX’s 20th anniversary, we undertook a project to record the history of the exchange which can be found here – it also includes some personal reflections from those involved in its early days.