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Victorian Internet

The Victorian Internet is a term coined in the late 20th century to describe advanced 19th century telecommunications technologies such as the telegraph and pneumatic tubes.

The idea embedded in the phrase is that instantaneous global communication is not a recent invention, but rather developed in the mid-19th century, and that the changes wrought by the telegraph outweigh the changes in modern society due to the internet. The ability to communicate globally at all in real-time is a qualitative shift, while the modern internet is merely a quantitative shift. The expression was used as a title of the book The Victorian Internet by Tom Standage[?].

The analogy between Victorian and electronic telecommunications technologies has also been made by Terry Pratchett in Discworld novels, where the optical telegraph system, the "clacks", and thus "c-commerce" is clearly a tongue-in-cheek reference to the internet.

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