TCP/IP and the Internet were developed concurrently. TCP/IP was the first technology robust enough to develop and power the Internet. TCP/IP provides packet switching that allows diverse computers and networks to connect to one another. Prior to TCP/IP, networks were limited to communication between computers and servers on the network. TCP/IP is a combination of several different network protocols, but the core is Internet Protocol(IP) and Transmission Control Protocol(TCP).
More detailed information about TCP/IP can be found at the Yale website, GaryKessler.net, and Cisco. It was developed by the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA or ARPA) in the 1960s and 1970s. The organization's ARPAnet was a small network of research facilities and unversities that used a variety of protocols for transmission. TCP, which originally was an acronym for Transmission Control Program, was developed in 1973. In the late 1970s, the technology was split into two protocols, TCP for the host level, and IP as a packaging and routing protocol. In the 1980s, over 200 networks were added to the ARPAnet with the TCP/IP protocol. The Internet was commercialized in the 1980s when Internet Service Providers began offering dial-up access to research facilities, as well as to home and business users. The Internet was originally used for usenet groups, email, and FTP transfers. It grew in popularity after the development of hypertext language, the World Wide Web, and early browsers. For more information about the history of the Internet, browse the following sites:
History of the Internet
Internet Society History of the Internet
Imagining the Internet - Includes a history and forecast
Computer History Museum
Jupitermedia predicts an increase in the number of people with Internet access, and more subscribers accessing it by wireless handheld devices and cell phones. Broadband and high speed connections make large applications like podcasting and video available to the masses. Internet usage may be affected by developments in voice recognition. It will continue to blur the lines between work and personal time, physical, and virtual reality. More predictions and forecasts about the Internet can be found at:
Pew Internet and American Life Project