The National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET) was a program of coordinated, evolving projects sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) from 1985 to 1995 to promote advanced research and education networking in the United States. The program created several nationwide backbone computer networks in support of these initiatives. Initially created to link researchers to the NSF-funded supercomputing centers, through further public funding and private industry partnerships it developed into a major part of the Internet backbone.
The National Science Foundation permitted only government agencies and universities to use the network until 1989 when the first commercial Internet service provider emerged. By 1991, the NSF removed access restrictions and the commercial ISP business grew rapidly.