Guardian profile: Tim Berners-Lee
There are, according to recent figures, more than 35 million web users in the UK today. More than 15 million British homes have internet connections and, thanks to faster broadband technologies, we are living in a radically different world from that which was predicted.
The world wide web has changed millions of lives in little more than a decade. For some it has changed fortunes as well: this week was the 10th anniversary of what is widely acknowledged as the beginning of the dotcom boom - when the web browser firm Netscape floated on the US stock market before ever turning a profit. That sparked a technology goldrush that has transformed modern communication. And while much of the boom was hyperbole, one rock solid fact remains: none of it would have happened if it was not for Tim Berners-Lee.
Sir Tim, named last year as the greatest living Briton, is rightly heralded as the godfather of the web. It was he who, as a physicist working in Switzerland, turned the internet from a disparate collection of academic and military computer systems into an international network. Without his input, arguably, the world would be a far duller place. The global village would still be under construction, technology would still be the preserve of an elite, and revolutionary companies such as Google, Amazon - and even easyJet - would not exist.