The so-called internet turns 30 today. All that really changed was the old BBS system of peer to peer was changed to a centrally managed system with a new software stack that turned out to be not so well thought out.
XMODEM goes back to the 1970s and it is still just as capable now as it was back then. The program was designed to move files from one machine to another.
The BBS system was a refinement that emerged in the 1980s as the PC became more dominant. This gave a new system of networking as a new file distribution was born. BBS systems could show visitors crude ASCII artwork at the logon screen and more subsequent to logon.
The first workable prototype of the Internet came in the late 1960s with the creation of ARPANET, or the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. Originally funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, ARPANET used packet switching to allow multiple mainframe computers to communicate on a single network.
The mainframe technology continued to grow in the 1970s after scientists Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf developed Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol, or TCP/IP, a communications model that set standards for how data could be transmitted between multiple networks. ARPANET adopted TCP/IP on January 1, 1983, and from there researchers began to assemble the “network of networks” that became the modern Internet.
The National Center for Supercomputing Applications released Mosaic which was the first browser by contemporary standards. Netscape delivered some competition. Microsoft responded with Internet Explorer. Soon the corporate competition resulted in BBS systems changing over to becoming web servers with new software.
Web server software became a valuable commodity is the early days of the internet gold rush. Open source became dominate in the later 1990s and eventually Linux changed everything again.
So where exactly did the internet start, this is not easily answered as the BBS before was simply a predecessor. Browsers have been around a long time too. So who ever claimed today marks the 30th birthday needs to talk to use about what really happened.
Anybody claimed to have invented the internet, some nice men in white coats want to speak to you.