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Although the Internet began under the auspices of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in the form of ARPANET, it did not remain there long. NSFNET was the form that the Internet took for a relatively brief period, from 1986 to 1995, but it played an important role in the emerging Internet’s early history. It was thus an important transitional phenomenon between the Internet’s military roots and the modern system used today. This entry discusses the development of NSFNET and the circumstances that led to its dismantling.

Because the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s responsibility was to develop cutting-edge technologies, not administer a communications network, administration of the Internet was transferred to the National Science Foundation (NSF). The goal was a civilian counterpart to the military ...

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