1995 - 1999


  • BT began interactive TV trials in interactive TV trials with 2,500 households in Ipswich and Colchester
  • The Lycos search engine went public with a catalogue of 54,000 documents reaching 1.5 million by January 1995


  • Government’s Information Society Initiative and UK Online with E-envoy
  • Letter from the Metropolitan Police to the UK ISPs telling them to remove internet content
  • R3 Safety Net Agreement regarding rating, reporting and responsibility is created by ISPA, LINX and the Safety Net Foundation, with a key outcome of the Agreement being formation of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)
  • Google’s beginnings with development of search engine BackRub, which used backlinks for search


  • WTO agreement by 69 governments to make multilateral commitments to liberalise telecommunications
  • WiFi is invented and first released for consumers when the 802.11 committee was created, leading to IEEE802
  • the blog or weblog takes of
  • BBC launches BBC News 24 as part of its foray into digital television


  • LLU trials/commercial product 2000 as Oftel forces BT to provide space in exchanges so that ISPs can sell services fromthe local exchange
  • high street electrical chain Dixons announced in September it was launching a free internet provider called Freeserve
  • Netflix was founded but not on the internet
  • Sky Digital launches becoming the UK's first digital television service


  • Nokia 7110 announced as the first WAP phone (Wireless Application Protocol), capable of browsing the internet
  • EU Review of Telecommunications
  • Policy & Regulation
  • Technology
  • Market & Services
  • Consumer Behaviour
2000 - 2004


  • Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act comes into force and provides a framework for surveillance and interception of communications, ISPA helped ensure a cost recovery mechanism was in place
  • ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) rolled out in the UK at 8Mbps, ADSL2+ later boosts speeds to 24Mbps
  • First home broadband service installed in the UK, in Basildon by NTL
  • AOL introduced flat-rate internet access service in the UK priced at £14.99 per month following its Stop the Clock campaign against metered access
  • The Year 2000 Bug


  • Godfrey v Demon Internet Service was a landmark court case concerning online defamation and the liability of ISPs
  • Free music-sharing site Napster closes after action by bands and record labels, it relaunches as legal, paid-for service in 2004
  • 2001 spam account for around 8 per cent of worldwide email
  • Encyclopaedia Wikipedia launches and has 20,000 articles in 18 languages at the end of its first year


  • Local loop unbundling begins and non-BT companies start installing broadband kit in telephone exchanges


  • The Communications Act established a new regulator to deal with the converged communications landscape; famously the ‘internet’ is not mentioned
  • Advertising Standards Authority defines "broadband" as delivery of speeds at least 500kbps
  • Virtual world Second Life launches


  • BT begins to trial the 2Mbps broadband service IPStream 2000
  • Apple launches iTunes music store in the UK.
  • Students in America begin using Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook
  • Policy & Regulation
  • Technology
  • Market & Services
  • Consumer Behaviour
2005 - 2009


  • First YouTube video uploaded on 23 April
  • UK internet advertising exceeded £1bn
  • Ofcom published conclusions of its Strategic Review of Telecoms. It put in place further infrastructure and wholesale competition and addressed the question of structural or operational separation of BT through equality of access and the establishment of Openreach


  • 2006 The EU Data Retention Directive, which gave powers to compel ISPs to retain communications data collected for business purposes for a period of up to 24 months was introduced. The Directive was ultimately found to be unlawful by CJEU and the UK Government introduced its own legislation 2006 BT creates Openreach to ensure rivals have equal access to the BT network, following agreement with Ofcom
  • Local Loop Unbundling enables ADSL2+ to take off
  • Launch of IPTV - BT Vision and others
  • Launch of Twitter with first tweet on 21 March by CEO Jack Dorsey



  • Virgin Media introduces 50Mbps broadband in the UK
  • H2O Networks rolls out Fibrecity offering residential FTTH in Bournemouth
  • BT announces national plan for deploying a new generation of "super-fast" broadband in the UK using FTTC (fibre to the cabinet)
  • Spotify launches in Europe as the first legal streaming service with an extensive catalogue


  • Labour Government promises all UK will receive 2Mbps as a “universal service” by 2012, as recommended in the Digital Britain report by Lord Carter
  • VDSL (Very High Bit Rate Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL) begins to be deployed using FTTC providing speeds up to 80Mbps
  • Openreach announces plan to connect 2.5 million homes to FTTP by 2012
  • Rutland Telecom installs UK's first rural FTTC project in Lyddington https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHLPi2ZP9OE
  • Music downloads overtake over take physical CD sales according to Atlantic Records
  • Policy & Regulation
  • Technology
  • Market & Services
  • Consumer Behaviour
2010 - 2014


  • Digital Economy Act passed prior to the establishment of the Coalition Government contained powers to address online copyright infringement through subscriber notifications, technical measures and web blocking. The measures were largely shelved, with only limited subscriber notifications ever coming into force
  • 2010 launch of Instagram on 6 October, downloaded 100,000 times by the end of the week, and had one million users by mid-December https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-genesis-of-Instagram?srid=33LA&share=1 2010 during April, May, and June 2010 sales of e-books outsold those of hardcover physical books at Amazon.com


  • Coalition Government promises “superfast broadband” of 24Mbps to 90 per cent of UK premises by 2015
  • Web blocking increased after the High Court ruled that ISPs would have to block access to Newzbin, a site found to have facilitated copyright infringement under Section 97A of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988
  • Network level parental control filters are introduced by the 4 large ISPs to help users manage and control content online through an ‘active choice’
  • BT began offering 100Mbps FTTP broadband in Milton Keynes
  • Hyperoptic launches a 1Gbps FTTH service in London


  • The controversial Draft Communications Data Bill, the so-called ‘Snoopers’ Charter’, was introduced. It included measures to retain internet browsing history but was shelved thanks to opposition from junior coalition government partners
  • Gigler 1Gbps/500Mbps FTTH service launches in Bournemouth using the CityFibre network


  • Government promises 95 per cent of premises to have “superfast broadband” by 2017
  • Policy & Regulation
  • Technology
  • Market & Services
  • Consumer Behaviour
2015 - 2020


  • Prime Minister David Cameron introduces “universal service obligation” for broadband giving UK residents a legal right to request an affordable internet connection
  • Openreach offers Fibre on Demand service
  • Virgin Media begins Project Lightning to include a form of FTTP RFOG (Radio Frequency Over Glass)
  • Ethical AI statement signed
  • Wannacry ransomware hits


  • The Investigatory Powers Act provides a new framework to govern the use and oversight of investigatory powers by law enforcement and the security and intelligence agencies
  • Sky completed rollout of IPv6 with 95 per cent of customers getting IPv6 access, and BT rolled out IPv6 support for all BT Broadband lines


  • Age verification of adult pornographic sites becomes law, with web blocking a backstop enforcement measure. AV has yet to be implemented.


  • GDPR and privacy – the General Data Protection Regulation is implemented on 25 May https://gdpr-info.eu/
  • Ofcom rules BT must make its telegraph poles and underground tunnels open to rival providers following Wholesale Access Market Review
  • The Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review set out Government’s approach to the delivery of gigabit and full fibre broadband with a target of 15 million premises connected to full fibre by 2025, with coverage across all parts of the country by 2033
  • Jersey Telecom deactivates copper broadband lines with all connections being FTTP with the lowest rate starting from 250Mbps


  • Online Harms White Paper recommends making internet companies responsible for online harms through the creation of a new duty of care and regulator
  • The Conservative Party manifesto commits to gigabit capable broadband to be available to all by 2025
  • Virgin Media begins deployment of Docsis 3.1 in the UK allowing download speeds up to 1Gbps
  • IBM announces Q system – move to quantum


  • B4RN launches 10Gbps symmetrical home broadband
  • Video conferencing app Zoom see 535 per cent rise in daily traffic in one month up to 2 April 2020
  • COVID-19 pandemic sees a reliance on broadband and record levels of internet traffic in the PetaBytes
  • Policy & Regulation
  • Technology
  • Market & Services
  • Consumer Behaviour