The World (Internet service provider)
|Key people||Jim Frost, Joe "Spike" Ilacqua, James "Kibo" Parry|
|Slogan(s)||A Public Information Utility|
The World is an Internet service provider originally headquartered in Brookline, Massachusetts. It began selling computer news access in November 1989 but despite popular belief was not the first to sell access to the NSFNET, the "true" Internet at the time. That distinction goes to UUNET (Alternet), which gained for-profit status and began selling limited Internet connectivity to consumers in January 1990 and had probably already sold bandwidth as a non-profit to DARPA-approved companies as early as November 1988. 
It was however, the first legal ISP and the first to offer full Internet access on August 13, 1992, as Alternet's Internet connectivity was limited to non-approved users. 
Many government and university installations blocked, threatened to block, or attempted to shut-down The World's Internet connection until Software Tool & Die was eventually granted permission by the National Science Foundation to provide public Internet access on "an experimental basis."
Domain name history
The World is operated by Software Tool & Die. The site and services were initially hosted solely under the domain name world.std.com which continues to function to this day.
Sometime in or before 1994, the domain name world.com had been purchased by Software Tool & Die and used as The World's primary domain name. In 2000, STD let go ownership of world.com and are no longer associated with it.
In 1999, STD obtained the domain name theworld.com, promoting the PascalCase version TheWorld.com as the primary domain name of The World.
The World still offers text-based dial-up and PPP dial-up, with over 9000 telephone access numbers throughout Canada, the United States, and Puerto Rico. Other features include shell access, with many historically standard shell features and utilities still offered. Additional user services include Usenet feed, personal web space, mailing lists, and email aliases. As of 2012, there were approximately 1750 active users.
More recent features include domain name hosting and complete website hosting.
The World offers a community Usenet hierarchy, wstd.*, which is accessible only to users of The World. There are over 60 newsgroups in this hierarchy. The World users may send each other Memos (password protected messaging) and access a list of all personal customer websites.
Much of The World's website and associated functionality was designed and built by James "Kibo" Parry.
Notable sites at The World
- The Barry Shein Home Page
- Boston Japanimation Society
- Brookline Pax
- General Theory of Religion (archive)
- The Wombat Information Center
- The World's Index of Customers' Home Pages
- Blacknight (Mar 13, 2011). "Barry Shein - president of The World".
- Shein, Barry (2003). "The Barry Shein Homepage". Retrieved 2012-08-14.
- "Thanks, Al Gore [Podcast #30]". May 24, 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-07.
- The World home page
- the first ISP 1999 USENIX article on the beginning of The World, by Spike Ilacqua
- Wired magazine: "Harmonic Convergence - How we got here and where we're going"
- 2014 Slashdot interview: "Barry Shein Started the First Dialup ISP"