AARNet stands for the 'Australian Academic and Research Network' (formally known as AARNet Pty Ltd). It is a non-profit organization based in Australia, which provides Internet Services to the CSIRO and all Australian universities. These institutions form the shareholders of the company.

The project was initiated in 1990 by the Australian universities and the CSIRO. At the time traffic to AARNet accounted for roughly 99% of all Australian Internet traffic. Seen as one of the key factors in the initial growth of the Internet in Australia, 1994 saw approximately 20% of all traffic coming from a non-AARNet user base.

In 1995 the founders of AARNet sold the commercial user base to telecommunications company Telstra. This beginning eventually became 'Telstra Bigpond' and was another massive contributor to the growth of the Internet in Australia.

AARNet2, begun in 1997, is the second phase of the project and also provides high quality Internet services between the networks of Australian universities and various Research and Development groups such as the Defense Science and Technology Organization and the Australian Institute of Marine Science. Furthermore AARNet also provides access to the global Research and Education networks.

Today AARNet not only provides bandwidth and connectivity between institutions, but it also has an FTP and HTTP mirror which was established in 1998. As stated on the mirror:

"Mirror.AARNet now provides a large coverage of OpenSource, Sysadmin and Acamdemically related archives to AARNet members, including UNIX sources and applications, Linux, PC and Macintosh software and Internet documents such as RFCs and FAQs."

AARNet and its associates state their vision "to be the innovative advanced academic and research network service provider of choice for Australia."


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