I posted it on imgur, which spawned a little discussion too. Did a little more digging and rediscovered that NSFNet was created in 1986, which took over ARPANet in 1990.
Then in 1994, NFSNet was sold to four companies, UUNet, Sprint, AT&T and Level3, who run the backbone of the internet even today, 23 years later.
[uunet changed hands/merged/etc but the other three are still doing what they do]
Networks that have excess bandwidth for use in research projects.
[this is not a map of all fiber optic in use]