#TBT: Cyber Cafes All the Rage in the 90s

It was a simpler time… 💾

Spread the word for a whole new generation of computer users

Welcome back to Cyberia, London’s first cyber space café. You can sip a cappuccino and surf the Internet joining millions of others heading down the road towards the information superhighway. Customers pay a small amount for time spent online at the café. By making the internet accessible, Cyberia spread the word for a whole new generation of computer users. Eva Pascoe, a Polish psychology student, opened Cafe Cyberia, the world's first internet café, in Whitfield Street, central London, on Sept 1, 1994.

Ms. Pascoe was writing her PhD at City University in London in 1994 when she first struck on the idea of an internet café. Men or women, the customers often needed nursing through the basics of internet usage, for which staff were on hand. Cyberia was nevertheless a hit, and spawned thousands of imitators. Ironically though, for founder Eva Pascoe, the first influx of customers were all men. Ms. Pascoe invested in new equipment for Cafe Cyberia, and soon attracted investment from the likes of Maurice Saatchi and Mick Jagger. Cyberia cafés later opened in many other cities as far afield as Paris, Tokyo, Bangkok and Manila. But as home access to the net has grown, the initial vision for cyber cafes has narrowed.

Cyberia eventually folded, but its legacy lives on in the 20,000 internet cafes dotted around the globe, even from market towns in Devon to Novosibirsk, the capital of Siberia. The net began in 1970 when four U.S. universities began swapping information along telephone lines of any central computer. The research was founded by the Pentagon anxious to develop a communication system capable of surviving nuclear strikes. Part argue that being online will soon become as necessary and as natural as using the telephone.