THE web is 25 years old – and under threat.

The man who invented it, Tim Berners-Lee, is worried about its future.

Twenty-five years ago, Tim Berners-Lee, invented something new for the internet – a technology he originally called ‘Mesh’ but we know today as the web.

It’s important to know the difference between internet and web. The internet is the global network of networks, linking computers of all sorts together across phone lines then, and fibre optic cables now.

The web is a layer that sits on top. A simpler way to publish, edit and navigate. Its simplicity was its greatest asset. Anyone could use it, so everyone did.

The early web was an open web and Berners-Lee is worried we’re about to lose it (

That’s why he’s backing something called Web We Want ( It’s a campaign to support the open web. The web that’s decentralised, neutral, and affordable for everyone.

It comes at just the right time. Big companies are taking over the web, trying to maximise the money they can make from it.

In the US, the idea of ‘net neutrality’ is at risk – that is, the idea that the infrastructure, the wires and cables and wifi nodes, remains open to all web traffic, regardless who publishes it.

Some big corporates want to change that. They want to remake the web like subscription TV. You’d get a small handful of websites for free, then have to pay for add-ons or bundles of extra content. Want Facebook? You’d have to shell out for the Social Media bundle. Like online newspapers? Another News bundle. And so on.

That’s not the web Tim Berners-Lee imagined and not the web future generations can learn from and build upon.

Remember the message he posted at the London Olympics opening ceremony: “This is for everyone.”

That’s the web we want.