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The roots of EUnet (originally an abbreviation for European UNIX Network) go back to 1982[1] and the first international UUCP connections.[2] From a very loose collaboration of individual sites under the auspices of the EUUG (European UNIX Users Group) (later EurOpen), it evolved to the fully commercial entity EUnet International Ltd.

On January 1, 1990 EUnet began selling Internet access to non-academic customers in the Netherlands,[3] making them one of the first companies to sell Internet access to the general public. EUnet provided local service through a respective national EUnet business partner in many European countries.

In 1990 the Soviet IP-based network RELCOM mostly operated by DEMOS powered computers was connected to the EUnet.[4]

In April 1998 the company together with nearly all of the national European business partners of EUnet was sold to Qwest Communications International,[5] which in turn later merged EUnet into the illfated joint-venture KPNQwest.[6] In year 2000 it was estimated that KPNQwest was carrying more than 50% of European IP traffic.[7] Some of the ISPs operating under the name EUnet today can be traced back to the original EUnet, some not.

Most national EUnet affiliates or subsidiaries predated other commercial Internet offerings in the respective countries by many years.

To completely understand the importance and history of EUnet, it is important to realize that until the early 1990s nearly every European country had a telecommunications monopoly with an incumbent national PTT, and that commercial and non-commercial provision of telecommunications services was prohibited or at least took place in a legal "grey zone". During the same period, as part of an industrial political strategy to stop US domination of future network technology, the EC embarked on efforts to promote OSI protocols, founding for example RARE and associated national "research" network operators (DFN, SURFnet, SWITCH to name a few).


  • 1982 UUCP links established between 4 countries (UK, Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden)[8]
  • 1984 kremvax April Fools Joke[9]
  • 1988 First IP links[10]
  • 1990 First offerings for "all comers"[3]
  • 1996 EUnet International formed by share swaps with seven of the national organisations[11]
  • 1998 Sale to Qwest for $154.4 mio[5]


EUnet staff meeting.


  1. ^ Internet Hall of Fame: Teus Hagen
  2. ^ On the Early Days of Usenet, the roots of the online cooperative culture
  3. ^ a b "Stichting NLnet Jaarverslag 1990".
  4. ^ "Как в СССР появился интернет и почему программисты не боялись цензуры". Rambler. 2016-10-22. Retrieved 2019-12-08. Первое подключение СССР к интернету произошло 28 августа 1990 года, когда программисты с Овчинниковской набережной обменялись электронными письмами с коллегами из университета Хельсинки. Финляндия была выбрана не случайно: после московской Олимпиады это была единственная страна, с которой сохранилась автоматическая телефонная связь. Вскоре «Релкому» был открыт доступ в общеевропейскую сеть, EUnet. 19 сентября от имени советских пользователей Unix Антонов зарегистрировал домен .su — так появился новый сегмент интернета.
  5. ^ a b" Qwest to Buy Internet Provider EUnet of Europe for $154 Million
  6. ^ KPN and Qwest Form $700 Million European Fiber Network Team
  7. ^ KPNQwest hat sein Netz abgeschaltet,, July 24, 2002.
  8. ^ Cardiff University/Dave Marshall, History of the internet
  9. ^ The Kremvax Hoax
  10. ^ CWI History: First European Internet connection
  11. ^

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