A Practical Navigator for the Internet Economy

Russia Successfully Building its Own Internet - Soros ISF in Controversy, pp.1-9

We publish the first 30% of our report on the Russian Internet. Offering a detailed description of Relcom, the largest Russian computer network. We also describe RELARN, the entity established in 1992 to funnel government subsidies to Russian research and education networking. We then describe the complex history of the development of the Moscow Backbone - a fiber backbone designed to link 6 major network providers and 15 research institutes within Moscow. Work on the backbone halted during the winter when a dispute broke out between Relcom and the International Science Foundation of George Soros.

We break off the first installment in the middle of a section on the role of the Soros ISF which with changes in its top personnel has had difficulty in establishing a coherent policy direction but which, if it carries through with its spending plans, will be in a position to exert tremendous power in both the establishment and execution of science and telecommuncations policy in Russia. Relcom (which is the only major Russian network that doesn't owe its market position largely to an investment of foreign capital and technology) apparently with some reason fears that the ISF would like to replace it.


Confused Reports from NCAR pp. 10, 20

We describe NCAR's concern about having to pay for its connection to a NAP under the new NSF architecture. It turns out that not even high level management at NCAR was aware any details regarding the vBNS and NAP architecture in mid June. We wonder aloud whether MCI had to specify such architecture in its proposal for the vBNS.

We Protest NSF's Grant of Commercial Use of the vBNS to MCI pp. 11-12

We publish the full text of our protest based on our conclusions of an apparent pattern of unreviewed grants of commercial use first with the NSFnet Backbone and then with the vBNS. We ask GAO to review whether the DNCRI Director has exceeded the grounds of his authority and to define the grounds on which such a federal official may make such grants in the first place. The GAO denied our protest on the grounds that for it to have jurisdiction we would have to be an "interested party." It cites 1991 case law stating that a taxpayer is not an "interested party."

NEARnet Buys BARRnet p. 13

We review the circumstances behind NEARnet's strong growth and the emergence of Bolt Baranek and Neuman as a service provider of national significance. We also summarize the contents of our reply to an unusually sharp flame from CERFnet Executive Director Kent England advising Joe Stroup that the day of the small service provider on the Internet was finished.

La Resolana Electronica - by Dave Hughes p. 15

We publish Dave's successful mid April proposal to the Morino Foundation. Dave is embarking on a project to link to each other and to the Internet powerful OS2 and NAPLPS based BBSs in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, the Rio Grande Institute in Santa Fe, the University of New Mexico as well as three Pueblos in northern New Mexico.

Under the guidance of Tomas Atencio, Carmen Gonzales, Noel Dunne and Pueblo leaders, these systems will emulate the educational, community and economic development of Montana's Big Sky Telegraph system. They will however go several steps further. They are based on OS2 with operational and cost advantages described by Hughes. (More powerful than a BBN Copernicus Server at about half the price - our comment.)

They will also be based on Hughes' NAPLPS Troika program that will allow users to create pictures and drawings and send them easily as automatically uuencoded and uudecoded internet email. Incoming drawings are automatically decoded and painted to the user's screen on the fly.

These NAPLPS capabilities will be used in the most interesting part of the experiment an attempt to take the Resolana, the heart of the culture of the Hispanic village community and integrate it into the online world. Can community wisdom in the fullest Hispanic sense be transplanted into carefully crafted systems in Cyberspace? Tomas Atencio thinks Hughes has the necessary tools to achieve this. He also believes that if Hughes is right, Hispanics across America may be able to integrate themselves into the telecommunications based economy without having to abandon their cultural heritage. We conclude that Hughes and his Hispanic co-conspirators are experimenting to see if the Information Superhighway can be built as though people really mattered.