Videotex .. (An Internet Forerunner)
In 1986 while working for the Government's Trentham Computer Centre, we took over a 'Videotex' service that had been started by ICL (NZ) Ltd in 1985 for the NZ Travel Agents Association. The system was known as TAARIS
(Travel Agents Association Reservation and Information Service) and used ICL's proprietary "Bulletin" software which was based on the Prestel standard but provided many additional facilities such as the ability to run additional software for specific applications, including an email service.
As the one tasked with operational support of the system, we can no longer remember the exact commercial arrangements, but do recall that ICL elected to have us run it on the mainframes at Trentham, and that we would market it and improve on it ourselves as we saw fit. It did end up with several user-clients, but was somewhat expensive and was discontinued before packet switching and the world-wide-web arrived in 1993.
In many respects Videotex was an Internet Service, or looked like and acted like one, however it ran over telephone lines, and each service tended to run on a single supplier's hardware and operating systems. The result was each service was centralized, controlled and everybody got charged, unlike the internet is today which offers mutiple pathways between millions of nodes around the world.