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BT forgets what the internet is in ridiculed broadband ad

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By John Glenday, Reporter

February 16, 2016 | 2 min read

A BT broadband advert has backfired spectacularly after the telecoms provider mistakenly conflated the birth of the internet with the genesis of the World Wide Web; two separate technologies.

In a patriotic press advert BT declared that Britain had ‘invented the internet’ whilst championing its own endeavours in bringing the technology to people’s homes, forgetting that the internet was in fact a US creation having risen from a 1960’s US defense project connecting military computers called Arpanet.

Instead it is believed BT was attempting to reference the development of the world wide web, the catch all term for webpages, documents and other resources which can be woven together using clickable hyperlinks, a system which was indeed developed by a Brit, Sir Tim Berners-Lee – albeit whilst working at Cern in Switzerland.

In a statement BT said: "For most people, the words 'internet' and 'world wide web' are interchangeable. We accept the language wasn't precise enough for some, but no harm has been done."

Despite the gaffe BT does have a proud history as an early pioneer of the technology, rolling out an ill-fated precursor to the World Wide Web called Prestel in the 1980s.

BT was hit by one of Britain’s largest ever broadband outages earlier this month when hundreds of thousands of customers lost their connection for up to two hours.

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