Not on the Net yet?

Author:Corbitt, Terry

The globalisation of the economy means businesses are communicating across the world more frequently than ever before. The telephone, fax and letter, still have their place but there is nothing quite like the Net. Get linked up, says TERRY CORBITT.

The days of limited communication are over. Fifteen years ago, the letter, telex and telephone may have seemed adequate but today, they are deemed almost antiquated. The enormous growth in the telecommunications industry is marked by the development of electronic mail (E-mail), the fax and mobile phones. The growth of the Internet, linking businesses, schools and homes and providing access to an infinite variety of information databases, is no less than a revolution.

The Internet, or the Net as it is becoming commonly known, is truly international. It can be accessed by anyone, anywhere, who has a telephone line, a modem and a computer. It enables users to communicate across the world through E-mail and on-line databases. Users can contact people who share common interests and can search far more effectively for information than ever before.

The Internet is a world-wide network of computer networks connecting education institutes, government departments, military installations and commercial companies. There are 30m Internet users with a further 1m joining each month. Estimates show that the number of commercial Internet users is increasing by 10% a month. Until the 1990s, users were mainly researchers from various institutes but in the last four years the number of commercial addresses on the Net has increased from 10,000 to 21,000.

The Internet is not a commercial entity and is not owned by a single organisation. The networks which make up the Internet include a number of large corporations such as British Telecom, IBM, News International, universities and government departments together with many small to medium-sized enterprises. These are all linked to the Internet through telephone lines, dedicated lease lines and satellite links.

The Net offers efficient, fast and cost effective electronic mail, massive information search and retrieval facilities, cost effective customer support, on-line marketing research, marketing, sales and advertising opportunities. Suitable software can be obtained either from Internet Providers, bought separately or downloaded from the Internet itself. Connection speed is important: You will require a modem of at least 9,600 bps (bits per second). The best bet is to...

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