The Victorian Internet is a term used to describe advanced 19th century telecommunications technologies such as the telegraph and pneumatic tube. The idea embedded in the phrase is that instantaneous global communication is not a recent invention, but rather developed in the mid-19th century, and that the changes wrought by the telegraph outweigh the changes in modern society due to the Internet. The expression was used as a title of the book The Victorian Internet by Tom Standage.
The book goes into detail regarding the similarities between early telegraph lines and what we today know as the internet. Considered by many to be the first "online" experience, telegraph lines provided the medium for what Standage called, the first online dates; when telegraph operators would engage in conversations or other personal things using those telegraph lines.
In actuality, Standage believes that the precursor to the internet, or precursor action, occurred in 1746 when an electro-physicist by the name of Jean-Antoine Nollet tested out his theory of electrical signals when he had a group of monks join together by clasping metal wire and then proceeding to hook them all up to a large battery. This test showed that an electrical signal can travel long distances and at a very quick speed.