Was the Internet Invented in Truro?

It may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of high-tech startups, but it turns out Cape Cod has its own ties to technological greatness. So, was the Internet actually invented in Truro as some have suggested? The answer isn’t quite as simple as a yes or a no.

Officially, it was the late 1960s when a computer first sent a message to another computer. It was the late 1980s when a British Scientist received credit for inventing the World Wide Web.

So, how does Truro fit into the picture? As one of the easternmost spots in the entire nation, it was thought Cape Cod was the perfect location for US military surveillance in the 1950s.

The idea was to use Truro to monitor for the potential threat of incoming Soviet bombers. During the period of the Cold War, Truro was used for radar systems contracted by the Department of Defense.

During that time, there were buildings and three radars in Truro. Little is left of them today, although hikers have been known to stumble across some of the fenced-in ruins in a wooded area close to Fox Bottom Road.

More than 50 years ago, however, those radars were extremely important. They used digital modems to connect to and send information directly to a computer at MIT. The transmission of information marked one of the first times that digital information was sent between a device and computer, which is why some people draw the conclusion of it being the start of the Internet. 

Compared to today, the process was very slow, but it was an extremely important feat for the time. While not everyone necessarily agrees the transmission out of Truro was similar to the Internet, it does mark a time and process of early high-tech, or at least transmission, history.

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