History of Internet in Finland
This Timeline is based on "A History of the Internet" by Harri K. Salminen. It has been complemented with details from a paper by Juha Heinänen, "Eunet in Finland – History". Facts about the development of the Finnish Communication and Internet Exchange (FICIX) have been supplied by Jorma Mellin.
The document has been edited by Tommi Karttaavi. Comments can be sent to email@example.com.
This version dated: 2004-08-09
The Finnish State Computer Centre's (VTKK) Scientific Calculation Unit (now CSC - Tieteellinen laskenta Oy) employs the first data-communications expert, to collaborate with the technical universities and to monitor international developments in data communications.
A UUCP (Unix to Unix CoPy) e-mail link between University of Tampere and Enea Data Ab in Stockholm, Sweden, uses dial-up modems to connect Finland with the Eunet e-mail network. The system is run on a PDP11/34 minicomputer at Tampere University of Technology.
The Ministry of Education's UNIVAC 1100/60 mainframe is linked to the IBM computer at the State Computer Centre, and via a node in Stockholm to the Cybernet supercomputer.
Helsinki University of Technology (HUT) gets a link to mcvax and the Enea link is transferred from Tampere University to the neighboring Tampere University of Technology (TUT). The Usenet news are received by TUT from Enea while HUT handles mail with mcvax, the international backbone node of EUnet.
The Ministry of Education launches the Finnish University Network (FUNET) project to develop a computer network for universities and researchers.
A fixed, 9600 bit/s bisync NJE (Network Job Entry) link from Helsinki University of Technology's VM/SP mainframe to the European Academic and Research Network (EARN) is set up via Stockholm.
The Finnish Unix User Group (FUUG) is founded and an official Eunet-UUCP node is set up at Penetron in Helsinki. It also starts receiving Usenet news directly from mcvax.
FUNET acts as a trial customer for Telecom Finland, and tests out a Datapak X.25 packet-switching network connecting university computers at a speed of 4800 bit/s. Since nearly all the universities had Digital Equipment Corporation computers, DECNET was chosen as the network protocol. FUNET is accessible by nearly all researchers, and offers users terminal connections, data transfer and e-mail. Gateways also allow e-mail to be sent to e-mail networks elsewhere in the world.
Local area networks at Helsinki and Tampere Universities of Technology are linked together with a fixed 64 kbit/s connection that uses bridges to transmit data.
The Imperial Telegraph Decree, dating from the time when Finland was a part of Russia, is replaced by the Law on Telecommunications (Dec 2,1986)
Active members of the Finnish Unix User Group (FUUG) in Tampere apply for registration of the .FI domain name, which is approved.
FUNET began linking its local area networks using Bridge IB/3 Ethernet bridges and 64 Kbit/s connections. Datapak's traffic-volume billing is introduced and proves expensive for the FUNET in comparison with fixed lines.
A CSNET connection from the University of Technology's mail Gateway, via the X.25 packet-switching network, opened up a rapid route for Internet e-mail.
FUNET acquires Cisco Systems multiprotocol routers (with DECNET and IP network protocols routed by the same equipment) instead of bridges.
The joint Nordic NORDUnet program approves the X.EARN project's plan for a joint Nordic academic multiprotocol network and decides to apply jointly for an Internet link to the NSFNET at a time when elsewhere in Europe public administrations and universities were being strongly pressured into going over to the OSI protocol and X.25 networks. The X.EARN plan also took other needs into account, even though it was optimised for Internet use. By the end of 1988, the NORDUnet network was in operation, and permission had been given to link it to the NSFNET, which was directly connected to the ARPANET.
Jarkko Oikarinen develops the Internet Relay Chat (IRC) real-time discussion system, using the RELAY program, which runs on IBM mainframes in the EARN network, as a model. Because he makes it for the Unix operating system popular on the Internet, it soon spreads widely.
Finland's competing Digipak and Datapak X.25 packet-switching networks start intercommunicating by order of the Ministry of Transport and Communications. Communication between public networks is now considered important, not just for telephone services, but also for data.
Telecom Finland launches Finnish commercial IP connections by linking major companies' offices with its Datanet network. Links to the Internet were not yet on offer, as it was still not allowed to be used for commercial purposes. Some FUNET members did, however, have links to the Internet via Datanet.
The NIC.FUNET.FI FTP archive for freely distributable files is set up. One model for this was the ARPANET's Network Information Center, the NIC.DDN.MIL server, which distributed Internet documents, but the service was later extended to become one of the world's biggest archives of public-domain software, partly through the popularity of Linux.
Local Finnish Internets were speeded up as the universities were linked together by a 100 Mbit/s FDDI fibre-optic-cable ring, into a Telecom Finland metropolitan-area trial network, and the Ultranet network, which theoretically runs at speeds of 1 Gbit/s, was acquired for use with the supercomputer.
The first Linux version is released on the NIC.FUNET.FI server. It takes still some time before it grows to be one of the most popular Internet application platforms.
The FUNET introduces Frame Relay technology (64Kbit/s-2Mbit/s) on its backbone network.
A prototype for a graphical user interface to the World Wide Web, Erwise, is developed at HUT.
Finnish Communication and Internet Exchange (FICIX), is founded by Eunet Finland Oy, HTC (Helsinki Telephone Company) and PTT (Posts and Telecommunications), which make an agreement on interconnecting Finnish IP networks. FICIX takes over the operation and registration of the .FI ccTLD (Country Code Top Level Domain).
Eunet Finland begins commercial sales of Internet connections in Finland.
The FUNET launches a trial 34 Mbit/s ATM network linking Espoo and Tampere.
The monopoly on long-distance telephone calls is ended in Finland and competition begins, cutting prices for the data links needed for the Internet.
The Finnish Internet Association (Suomen Internet-yhdistys – SIY ry.) is founded.
The FUNET's backbone goes over to Telecom Finland's ATM network (10-34 Mbit/s).
FICIX switces from Ethernet to ATM. The ATM node is established in Otaniemi, Espoo. Members join the node with 155 Mbps connections.
The Finnish Telecommunications Regulation Authority takes over the operation and registration of the .FI ccTLD.
FUNET sets up 155 Mbit/s ATM connections to all Finnish universities. Links to other countries are also upgraded to 155 Mbit/s.
FICIX establishes a second exchange point in Pasila, Helsinki.
The Finnish Internet Association is chartered as the Finnish Chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC Finland).