A Practical Navigator for the Internet Economy

COMMERCIAL INTERNET EXCHANGE - INTERVIEW WITH THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR pp. 1- 6.

In a rare interview with Bill Washburn, CIX Excutive Director we discuss issues affecting the CIX that emerged from a debate on the com-priv list that we touched off in mid-March. In the interview Washburn positioned the CIX at a mid point in the policy spectrum between the NAPs which could have strong policy restrictions and MAE East which has none.

He noted that CIX has two requirements - all members must peer with each other at the CIX router and must accept all traffic from each other without settlements. What many outsiders do not realize is that CIX membership currently buys connection to and unrestricted traffic with 44 commercial internet service providers worldwide -- something that would be difficult and expensive to negotiate via one on one arrangements.

Wasburn acknowledged an on-going dispute with ANS about routing. ANS apparently has some preferences that the CIX Board so far has not agreed with. On the issue of reselling Washburn brought up a new point that we have not seen discussed in public. ***A service provider with only one POP need not be considered a reseller and therefore need not join the CIX in order to get CIX routing from its provider.***

In discussing whether the annual $10,000 CIX membership fee should be seen as a barrier to entry in the marketplace, Washburn said there is a feeling that CIX membership should stand for a degree or level of a basic quality of service that must be maintained -- one that would embrace customer support and service.

Washburn explained in part the issue of some entities getting CIX routing through their providers was an unavoidable fallout of providers having to be free to make billateral arrangements with other providers who may or may not be CIX members. Despite the fact that relationships between some regional members and some purely commercial members had been strained, he indicated that he felt a convergence between the interests of the CIX and the regionals would likely take place. Why? Because in order to survive, the regionals will increasingly have to operate with the same balance sheet concerns as the commercial nets.

Finally he commented on our concern that the CIX had not been doing a good job of telling its story to the rest of the network, by saying that he simply didn't have the time to answer questions from com-priv. However, he held out some hope that it may figure out how to take questions in a public network forum.


CIX: A SUMMARY FROM THE COM - PRIV DEBATE. PP 7-13.

From serveral hundred kilobytes of com-priv discussion we have culled about 5000 words of arguments pro and anti CIX and its policy. We Include sidebars with the CIX membership list, an explanation of the ANS routing issue and of the tools necessary to analyze routing to and from the CIX Inter-exchange point.

AT&T AND CIX MEMBERSHIP, PP. 14, 24

AT&T has initiated nationwide commercial TCP/IP frame relay service. Yet it so far has not joined CIX. We ask why?

CONYERS GOV'T OPERATIONS. COMMITTEE REBUKES NSF DIRECTOR FOR VBNS OUTCOME, PP. 15

On April 12 Congressman John Conyers citing "numerous allegations questioning the propriety of the NSF's efforts to acquire telecommunications services," gave Director Neal Lane until April 27 to supply answers to the Committe on the process used in choosing MCI as the winner of NSF 93-52. Conyers stated that he was particularly troubled by NSF's use of a cooperative agreement rather than a contract. Sources on the Hill to us that it could be as long as two months before a decision about a full fledged investigation is made. We publish Conyer's April 12 Letter to Neal Lane in full.

NEW QUESTIONS ABOUT NSF POLICY & COMMERCIAL USE OF VBNS, P.16

. After down playing its importance, the NSF announces it will subsidize academic connections to the vBNS. An informant suggests that if the vBNS carries but a single OC-3 connection commercial resale may be inappropriate. Need for NSF to specify a quality of service metric is pointed out.

NSF REFUSED TO ANSWER PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS QUESTIONS ON COMMERCIAL USE IN JUNE OF 93 BIASING THE COMPETITION THEN UNDERWAY, P. 18.

COOK Report under FOIA has obtained complete questions submitted to NSF in May 1993. Examination reveals that Bellcore, Ameritech, Advantis, COOK Network Consultants and NCAR asked about Commercial use. While no one at NSF answred these questions it seems that NSF went ahead with its own definition in mind and is now ready to fund MCI's development of a commercial service. Amendment 2 to NSF 93-52 said it answered all substantive questions. DNCRI Director Wolff again on 11/30/93 said NSF answered all substantive questions. We wonder NSF did not consider commercial use questions to be substantive -- especially in the context of the perceived favoritism and stretching of the rules in Wolff's earlier grant of commercial use to ANS (comprised of the current winners MCI and IBM).

NSF also reveals that it has no data on MCI cost sharing proposals, no legal support for Wolff's 12/29/93 declaration that he had statutory authority to grant commercial use,and no audit data on how the current awardee is carrying out its commercial use privilege.


FOIA RESPONSES INDICATE ABSENCE OF POLICY COMMUNICATION BETWEEN OSTP, HPCC NCO AND NSF, P. 19.

PL 102-194 calls for an HPCC Program to be established by the President. Such a program is to exert management and oversight responsibilities as well as carry out a coordination function. The Clinton Administration has established a Coordination Office but seems to have left congressionally mandated oversight and management responsibility to the agencies. Responses to our FOIAs indicate **no discussions of policy** between OSTP, the Coordination Office at NLM and NSF!! In absence of acknowledged policy guidance, we call on Conyers to ascertain where the legislative intent of PL 102-194 is being carried out.

SPRINT'S APRIL 8 SUBMSSION TO GAO, PP. 21, 23

. Sprint initiates a new ground of protest over the failure of the NSF to answer the questions asked by prospective bidders on commercial use of the vBNS. It charges that NSF biased the competition in favor of MCI, a partner in the current cooperative agreement and beneficiary of NSF's current grant of commercial use.

Sprint also develops an new jurisdictional argument for GAO. It calls for GAO to hold a hearing to take oral testimony. Finally it asks that GAO force NSF to turn over an extensive collection of documents pertaining to cost sharing and commercial use. We include extensive excerpts from the filing. GAO was to have ruled by April 15th. Sprint regards the fact that they have not ruled as we go to press (April 24) as a favorable sign.