The ARPANET allowed different computers at separate locations to be connected, using standardized data communications technologies. It began operation in late 1969, and was in its heyday from 1970 to 1980. The ARPANET was finally decommissioned in 1990.

Once the ARPANET was established, primitive email standards were then developed to allow messages to be interchanged between computers of different types, with different operating systems, and with different email programs.

Users were primarily students and researchers in university computer science departments in the US. There were also a number of military organisations such as Mitre and the Pentagon. Typical computers were: Digital PDP-10, Digital PDP-11, CDC 6400, 6500, 6600, 7600, IBM 370.--Nigel Dutt, David Ferris

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