25 years is a short time in many ways. The typical 25-year-old human is just a few years out of school and starting his or her professional career. Most 25-year-old jetliners are still flying thousands of miles every day.
Over the past 25 years, there have been only six British prime ministers, four U.S. presidents, and three different chancellors of Germany.
But in technology—particularly in communications technology—25 years may as well be a different geologic age. According to the Pew Research Center, “In June 1995, 14% of the general public said they went online either from work, school or home. By September 1996 that number had climbed to 22%.” Less than 1% of the world’s population had Internet access in 1995. By 1998, the figure was still only 3.1%.
And that was sllllooooowwwww Internet access. “Fast” 56K modems weren’t introduced until 1998. How does that compare to today’s web speeds? Andrew Spaulding recently did a retro access test to see how it would feel, and as he notes, “(at) 56,000 bits of information per second…one Gigabyte of information would take about 40 hours to receive. To put that into perspective: approximately 1 Gig of HDTV data, delivered at 2015 speeds, amounts to 7 minutes of video.”