Richard Adams Founds UUNET, First Commercial ISP


In 1987 American computer scientist Richard L. Adams, Jr. founded in Northern Virginia UUNET Communications Services, the first commercial internet service provider. On May 12 UUNET passed its first traffic via the CompuServe Network using UUCP (Unix to Unix Copy Protocol).

"Although the ISP initially offered services only to research institutes and universities, it wasn't long before Adams began expanding operations. The launch of AlterNet in 1990 marked UUnet's first foray into commercial service, as well as its conversion to a for-profit company. The firm's new focus on the corporate sector paid off a few years later when it landed the contract to carry Internet traffic for the Microsoft Network, beating out competitors like AT&T Corp. and MCI Communications Corp. Adams took UUnet public in 1995, in one of the largest technology public offerings to date, and a year later agreed to a $2 billion buyout offer from MFS Communications, which was acquired by WorldCom shortly thereafter" (, accessed 02-28-2009).

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