.DE turns twenty five
Three characters marked the emergence of the information society in Germany 25 years ago
5 November 1986
The first step towards this evolution was made on 5 November 1986, when the country code .de was included in the official list of IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority), the organization responsible for the global coordination of the central functions of the Internet. With this entry, domains with the country code for Germany were permitted to be registered for the first time in history. By now, nearly every state in the world has its own so-called country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD), including the Vatican city state (.va). In 1986, however, the Federal Republic of Germany was one of the first of a total of ten countries that was represented on the Internet. Since then, .de could distinctly extend its leading position and featuring more than 14.6 million registered domains today now clearly holds the first rank among the ccTLDs, followed by Great Britain (.uk) with 9.7 million and the Netherlands (.nl) with 4.7 million registrations. Only the generic TLD .com scores higher than .de with 97.6 million registered domains. Very little known in contrast is .dd, the country code that was reserved for the German Democratic Republic. Due to the German reunification in the year 1989, it was never actually used. You will find detailed tables and maps on the domain evolution in the various geographic areas and cities of Germany at http://www.denic.de/...
The Internet becomes available to the mass public
Initially reserved mainly for scientists and technologists, the Internet started to attract a broader public at the end of the nineties. This interest was driven by developments such as the WWW web browser launched by Tim Berners-Lee and his page description language HTML, which together with the transfer protocol HTTP enabled the Internet as it exists today. Browsers and graphic user surfaces made the medium suitable for mass use. Already then, there hardly was any German enterprise without its own web appearance to communicate a modern image, to advertise its products or services and to test innovative sales channels. About ten years after the launch of .de, computers became available at discount prices and conquered private households. More and more shopping and banking transactions were implemented from home. A new digital market emerged, which was soon discovered and tested also by international groups. For Yahoo, Amazon or Ebay, .de was the one of the first addresses for launching their business model on the international market. 25 years after the introduction of .de, on average 159 of 1,000 German citizens have a .de domain. In purely arithmetical terms, thus every sixth has their own Internet appearance. And also in factual terms, nearly 80 percent of all domain holders are private persons.
A social and economic factor
The Internet does not only generate new business models, also the business procedures have changed considerably. E-mails transfer offers to their recipients by just one mouse click, video conferences accelerate development processes and virtual networks enable teamwork right from the home office. All this is possible thanks to the Internet because it bridges any distance in time and place all over the world. Communication technology and the Internet are involved in nearly every business transaction today. For 2010, the Federal Statistical Office recorded Internet access of 82 percent of all German companies, of course differing according to industry and branch, and regular use of computers with Internet access of 62 percent of all employees. For globally operating groups as well as for the locally operating organic farmer the Internet has become an integral part of business communication. Since the start of the new millennium, an increasing number of private persons is adding content to the Internet. Enthusiastic travellers and amateur photographers, persons testing products at home or young couples with their own wedding site make use of new web offers and self-explanatory user surfaces. In the so-called web 2.0, everybody can become part of the community and contribute to the diversity of the Internet in blogs, forums and digital networks.
DENIC – a vital pillar
Increasing user numbers prove the growing popularity of the Internet. Whilst Infratest 2001 reported 37 percent of the citizens above fourteen to use the Internet in Germany, this figure will be 74.7 percent for 2011 . Simultaneously, the number of registered .de domains more than doubled during this period, from 5.1 to nearly 14.7 million. The organization behind .de is DENIC eG (Deutsches Network Information Center), a neutral service provider founded in 1996. Organized as a German cooperative, DENIC unites 280 German and international (about 17 percent) companies of the Internet industry. Besides its function as the central registry of .de domains, DENIC also is responsible for the troublefree operation of the technical infrastructure of .de and has thus been an essential pillar of the German Internet for 15 years. "In a complex, continuously changing environment like the Internet, DENIC has rendered registry services of perfect quality over a long period," praises Vint Cerf, who generated a crucial technical basis for the Internet already in the 1970ies when he contributed to the creation of the TCP/IP protocols and has essentially shaped the evolution of the web since then. He attests the impartial provider of the German country code Top Level Domain an extraordinary performance. Two leading-edge data centers in Frankfurt am Main and Amsterdam and a worldwide multiple redundant server network of the latest generation ensure that .de domains are reachable all around the clock within a fraction of a second from everywhere in the world. The structure of DENIC as a neutral cooperative operating as a private-sector not-for-profit organization is in line with the democratic idea of the medium Internet, which wants to take into account the interests of all stakeholders.
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