The World (Internet service provider)

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The World
The World logo
Screenshot of homepage.tif
President Barry Shein[1]
Key people Jim Frost, Joe "Spike" Ilacqua, James "Kibo" Parry
Slogan(s) A Public Information Utility
Launched November 1989[2]
The S.S. Pierce Building, original Brookline headquarters of The World.

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. [3]

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. [4]

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."[5]

Domain name history[edit]

The World is operated by Software Tool & Die. The site and services were initially hosted solely under the domain name which continues to function to this day.

Sometime in or before 1994, the domain name had been purchased by Software Tool & Die and used as The World's primary domain name. In 2000, STD let go ownership of and are no longer associated with it.

In 1999, STD obtained the domain name, promoting the PascalCase version 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.[6] 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[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]