Believe it or not, the first mobile Internet connection was made, in the back of a van, thirty years ago today.
The van drove up and down interstate 280 in the San Francisco Bay area, on 22 November 1977, connecting to Arpanet, satellite and packet radio, with Don Nielson, head of a packet radio network project at SRI, at the chunky keys of a teletype terminal in the back, according to a photo story at CNet.
The van itself has been lovingly restored for the Computer Museum in Mountain View and is hugely historical as the networks it linked were the basis of the Internet itself, and the people putting it together were pushing the boundaries of technological possibility.
The van travelled a range of 400 miles and connected to systems across the US and in Europe - an interesting reminder that the Internet has actually been mobile since its early days, although these days all the equipment that took a van to transport now fits comfortably in a pocket.
Thanks, by the way to T-Mobile for point us to the CNet story. The mobile operator also offered what it called "visionary" comment about it, which went as follows: "We’ve made it easy for customers to search and surf the internet, from as little as 50p a day with T-Mobiles 5 Day Pass for unlimited web browsing. It seems it’s more important than ever to have an ‘always there, always on’ connection to the web."
We've clearly come a long way since 1977. If nothing else, the meaning of the word "visionary" is somewhat different these days...