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13News Now Vault: 30 years of the World Wide Web

We are going back to 1991, when the World Wide Web started becoming widely available to the public.

NORFOLK, Va. — The year was 1991.

We didn’t know it at the time, but the world, and the way we live and interact in it, was about to change: the World Wide Web was starting to become publicly available for the first time.

One look into the 13News Now archives, and it’s clear we were still trying to figure out what the Web even was and how it worked back then.

“Back then very few people had the internet,” said Luke Downing.

Downing was just 12 at the time. Now he runs his own IT company, Mode5, in Norfolk. Downing is a lifelong "computer guy."

“The early days were dial-up internet,” said Downing. “My business partner Matt would tie the phone line up 24/7.”

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The dial-up days in the mid- to late-90s are when we really started to see widespread use of the internet, including the recognizable login chime from America Online.

“It’s a sound our parents really hated,” said Downing.

So what’s next, after 30 years of the World Wide Web?

Downing believes blockchain, most commonly associated with cryptocurrency, is the next big thing. It has applications he thinks will revolutionize how we live, work, and play – just like the internet did in the early to mid-90s.

“It’s at the very early stages,” said Downing. “I think what we’ll see with blockchain is that right now feels like the early 90s.”