On Friday, 17 November 2017, the Croatian Academic and Research Network – CARNET, the University of Zagreb Computing Centre and the Central State Office for Digital Society Development celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Internet in the Republic of Croatia. The ceremony is held under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Croatia and the Ministry of Science and Education of the Republic of Croatia.
The gathered at the ceremony at the National and University Library will be addressed by mr. sc. Andrej Plenković, Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, prof. dr. sc. Blaženka Divjak, Minister of Science and Education, Bernard Gršić, State Secretary, Goran Kezunović, CARNET Chief Executive Officer and dr. sc. Zoran Bekić, Srce Chief Executive Officer.
For the occasion of celebrating 25 years of Internet in Croatia, by the Decision of the President of the Republic of Croatia, Ms. Kolinda Grabar Kitarović, the University of Zagreb Computing Centre (Srce) and the Croatian Academic and Research Network – CARNET were awarded Charters of the Republic of Croatia, which testifies to the exceptional importance of this event. Srce was awarded the Charter for extraordinary services in the introduction and popularization of internet and internet technologies in the Republic of Croatia, and CARNET was awarded the Charter for outstanding services in the longstanding development of the education of individuals and Croatian society as a whole with the assistance of new information technologies and the development of a digitally advanced society, with special focus on the educational and academic population.
Exactly twenty five years ago, on 17 November 1992, the Croatian academic and research computer communication network based on IP protocol and its connection to the global Internet network was officially launched in the Rector’s Office of the University of Zagreb, which officially started the age of Internet in Croatia.
The established Internet connection between Croatia and the world was the connection with the University of Vienna with the capacity of 9.6 kbps (9600 bit/s). The connection was established within the project of construction of a national academic network – the Croatian Academic and Research Network – CARNET.
The project had been started by the then Ministry of Science, Technology and Informatics in October of the war-year 1991, with first-hand assistance of prof. dr. sc. Branko Jeren, then Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Informatics, later the Minister of Science and Rector of the University of Zagreb. In the fall of 1991, the Committee for the Academic Network was formed, run by doc. dr. sc. Predrag Pale from the then Faculty of Electrical Engineering (today FER) of the University of Zagreb, with members including Ivan Marić and Velimir Vujnović from the University of Zagreb Computing Centre – Srce, Darko Bulat from the Ruđer Bošković Institute and Ljubimko Šimičić from the Faculty of Science of the University of Zagreb. The goal of the Committee was to organise a network that would enable every researcher or student to communicate to all researchers in the Republic of Croatia and the entire world.
The idea of creating a joint national computer and communication infrastructure and introducing the Internet in the Republic of Croatia started to become reality in 1991 at the University of Zagreb Computing Centre, to which the Committee had entrusted the construction and administration of the network, as well as user support, and the network also got its name: CARNET – Croatian Academic and Research Network.
Apart from the construction of the computer and communication network, which has connected almost all academic institutions in the Republic of Croatia, another two important breakthroughs have been accomplished during the starting years: in addition to the already mentioned establishment of the first Internet connection between Croatia and the world on 17 November 1992, several months later, on 27 March 1993, the registration and operation of the national top-level domain .hr also started. During the wartime, the CARNET network actively conveyed information on war developments in the Republic of Croatia, and in this way fought the media blackout in the middle of which our young country had found itself.
The first institutions to become involved in the national research and education network and to use the international Internet connection were the Faculty of Economics and Business in Osijek, the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Zagreb, the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Shipbuilding in Split, the Ruđer Bošković Institute, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Faculty of Science in Zagreb and the Faculty of Engineering in Rijeka. All citizens of Croatia were enabled Internet access through a public computer at Srce.
“Exactly 25 years from today, an international communication link was established, which connected the CARNET node in Zagreb with Austria at the speed of 64 kbps. Thus the Republic of Croatia officially became a part of the global computer network known as the Internet. The Croatian Academic and Research Network – CARNET was the first, and, during the several years to come, also the only Internet service provider in the country.
The Internet became a part of our everyday lives and an indispensable medium for information exchange, communication, but also education, where CARNET always had a significant role, being more than just a network and an Internet service provider. I can proudly say that, with its activities today, CARNET still contributes to the development of a digitally mature society and works on the comprehensive informatisation of the education and science system in Croatia. In the area of information and communication technology application, CARNET connects more than 3,500 institutions and provides more than 70 various services, including network development, ICT infrastructure, e-services, cyber-safety and customer support”, as CARNET’s Chief Executive Officer Goran Kezunović points out.
“In parallel with the beginning of technical network construction, the work on the construction of the first ever Internet services for the entire academic community had started. In parallel with the construction of particular connections (by connecting institutions), user education was also conducted (in most cases individuals/representatives from the connected institutions were trained). Srce organised several day-long ‘Internet courses’, which covered the basics of IP networks and services and the administration of the Ultrix operating system.
The first assistance service (helpdesk) at Srce was also established along the way. Numerous enthusiasts from academic institutions started using the Internet intensely, but also began using and establishing services which started to appear on the Internet (e.g. gopher, web and similar)”, the Srce CEO dr. sc. Zoran Bekić said.