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The Warsaw Voice » Business » September 2, 2011
Business & Economy
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20 Years of Internet in Poland
September 2, 2011   
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This August marked 20 years since the first internet connection was established in Poland. At first, the network was available only to a select group of users. Today, 63 percent of households in Poland have internet access.

The first connection using Internet Protocol was launched in Poland on Aug. 17, 1991. Rafał Pietrak from the Department of Physics of the University of Warsaw connected with Jan Sorensen from the University of Copenhagen. Poland attempted to join the World Wide Web back in the 1980s but this proved to be impossible due to a lack of equipment, insufficient financing and the country’s political isolation at a time when the United States maintained an embargo on technology exports. However, scientists in Poland and abroad, mainly physicists and astronomers, continued to make efforts to connect Poland to the network. Initially, the speed of the connection was only 9,600 b/s. By the end of the year, a satellite antenna was installed next to the University of Warsaw’s IT Center. It provided a 64 kb/s connection between Warsaw and Stockholm. For the next three years it was the main channel serving Poland’s internet connections. The infrastructure kept developing. The first fiber optic cables connected the Warsaw university with other universities. The first www server in Poland was launched in August 1993 at the University of Warsaw.

Today, the internet is widely accessible in Poland. Data from the Central Statistical Office indicates that 63 percent of households in the country are connected to the Web. There are many providers of broadband internet and a number of mobile phone operators offering internet access. Several sectors of the economy based on the internet have emerged.

“The internet is developing dynamically in Poland, as testified by the growing number of domains,” said Tomasz J. Kruk, head of operations at the NASK Research and Academic Computer Network. “At present, more than 2 million domains are registered in Poland, which puts us in fifth place in Europe. It took 17 years to register a million; another million was generated in three years. This proves that Poles are not afraid of the internet and know how to use it, judging by the number of companies that have emerged owing to the Web.”
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