The internet has become an integral part of our daily lives, and it’s hard to imagine a world without it. In Belgium, the internet has come a long way since its inception, and its history is worth exploring.
The first internet connection in Belgium was established in 1988, when the University of Ghent connected to the European Academic Research Network (EARN). This connection allowed researchers in Belgium to communicate with their counterparts in other European countries. However, it wasn’t until the early 1990s that the internet became widely available to the public.
In 1993, the Belgian government launched the Belgian Academic and Research Network (BELNET), which provided internet access to universities and research institutions. This was a significant step towards making the internet accessible to the general public. The first internet service providers (ISPs) also emerged around this time, including EUnet Belgium and Skynet.
The mid-1990s saw a surge in internet usage in Belgium, as more and more people began to use the internet for personal and business purposes. In 1995, the first Belgian website was launched, and by 1997, there were over 100,000 internet users in the country.
The early 2000s saw the emergence of broadband internet, which allowed for faster and more reliable internet connections. This led to a further increase in internet usage, as more people began to use the internet for streaming videos, downloading music, and online gaming.
In 2005, the Belgian government launched the Federal Public Service Economy’s Broadband Plan, which aimed to provide broadband internet access to all households in the country. This plan was successful, and by 2010, over 90% of households in Belgium had access to broadband internet.
The past decade has seen a significant shift towards mobile internet usage, as smartphones and tablets have become increasingly popular. In 2012, mobile internet usage surpassed desktop internet usage in Belgium, and this trend has continued to this day.
Today, Belgium has one of the highest internet penetration rates in Europe, with over 85% of the population using the internet. The country also has a thriving tech industry, with companies such as Proximus, Telenet, and Orange providing internet and mobile services to millions of customers.
In conclusion, the history of the internet in Belgium is a fascinating one, and it’s clear that the internet has come a long way since its inception. From its early days as a tool for researchers to its current status as an essential part of our daily lives, the internet has had a profound impact on Belgian society. As we look towards the future, it’s clear that the internet will continue to play a vital role in shaping the country’s economy and culture.