Believe it or not, the Internet was created way back in 1969, during the Cold War, by the United States military. It was meant to be a "nuke-proof" communications network. Today, the Internet spreads across the globe and consists of countless networks and computers, allowing millions of people to share information. Data that travels long distances on the Internet is transferred on huge lines known collectively as the Internet backbone. The Internet is now maintained by the major Internet service providers such as MCI Worldcom, Sprint, GTE, ANS, and UUNET. Because these providers make huge amounts of revenue off the Internet, they are motivated to maintain consistent and fast connections which benefits everyday Internet users like you and me.
Many people think the Internet and the World Wide Web are the same thing. They're not! The World Wide Web is what you are browsing right now. It is one of the many features of the Internet. E-mail, FTP, and Instant Messaging are also features of the Internet.