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HYBRID NETWORKS IN THE CONTEXT OF NII DESIGN, PP. 1 - 5.

We interview Hybrid's founder Ed Moura to get an in depth look at the origin and development of Hybrid's asymmetric networking technology. Moura points out that the only applications that don't fit well into the asymmetric pattern are one-on-one electronic mail, real time video and the activity generated by an information services provider. Moura says that Hybrid will soon be prepared to offer upstream internet connect channels via wireless and via cable as well as by telephone.

We point out that according to statistics published in the November Internet Letter the data usage of the Internet by a very large customer (Morgan Stanley) is asymmetric with 10 times more incoming than outgoing data. We mention Hybrid's new alliance with General Instrument and Intel to produce a low cost card for a personal computer. This card will replace the more expensive Hybrid modems and software in permitting local loop by pass in connecting to the Internet.

Finally we discuss where the Hybrid technology fits into the picture of National Information Infrastructure policy as recommended by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. When the EFF emphasized the need for high bandwidth upstream as well as down, some thought it was coming out against assymmetric networking. EFF senior Counsel Dan Weitzner assured us that this is incorrect and that the EFF supports the asymmetric concept embodied by Hybrid.

 

A REPORT FROM THE TELESTRATEGIES CONFERENCE ON THE BELL ATLANTIC TCI MERGER, PP.5, 24

Interactive TV may not be the much anticipated cash cow. Telephony via the local cable TV network may however be a much different story. The cost to the RBOCs to connect new subscribers to their network is about $1200. The cost for a cable TV telephone connection is likely to be around $350. Fiber is necessary for cable TV plants to support telephony. Well before the end of 1994 50% of the cable plant nationwide will be fiber.

One speaker from Arthur Anderson suggested that using the resulting networks for two way information transfer to virtualize more than three quarters of business activity in the US could make the whole venture extremely profitable.

Finally there was an excellent presentation on the Cox Cable Bell South joint venture for online yellow pages, newspapers, and a regional version of Prodigy in the Atlanta area. (We expect to publish more about this in the February COOK Report.)

NSF ALLEGED TO CUT NETWORK FUNDS WHILE SPENDING & ANS SUBSIDIES SHOW INCREASE - SCIENCE BOARD RUBBER STAMPS NEW MERIT EXTENSION, PP. 6-8.

We explore press reports that NSF is getting out of the Internet and backbone funding business. Despite such assertions the NSFnet Program budget request for FY 94 shows a 25% increase over the FY 93 figures.

We examine the role of the National Science Board in the extension of the agreement. Having asked whether the Board ever refused to accept recommendations presented to it, we were assured by a senior network personality that this was often the case. Board staffer Jim McCullough however told us via telephone that the Board rarely if ever over ruled a recommendation because each such document was thoroughly checked by two layers of management and by legal staff before the Board ever saw the result. We see from the Science Board Memo detailing the extension that the amount being paid Merit is increasing by 20% per month. We note that the identities of the Solicitation winners will be present to the Science Board at its February 10 - 11th 1994 meeting. However they may not be publicly announced until April when the Division of Grants and Agreements completes their processing. Readers may expect us to use FOIA to obtain the information given to the Science Board in February.

We reprint the list of questions about the solicitation presented to NSFnet management by Rick Adams on June 3, 1993. The questions make quite clear that the NSF will continue not only to support a new version of the backbone but also to support the ability of the regional networks to sell commercial accounts in unfair competition with their purely commercial non tax supported counterparts.

Finally we reprint a portion of Mitch Kapor's February 2, 1993 testimony describing the vBNS as something that is commercially available and can be obtained via contract at a likely savings to the taxpayer.

NEWS OF ADVANCED NETWORK AND SERVICES, PP.9-11.

We describe ANS's Diamond Mine Marketing strategy. In the words of an informant: "Diamond mine is a revenue sharing agreement, which means no or little up front cost for those who agree to it."

If someone wants to become a diamond mine customer of ANS, I view such a desire as an indication that such a person is not at all confident of his ability to sell internet access service and package it in a profitable way. Why? Because they want ANS to bear some of that risk.

If ANS had another customer in my geographic area who had this kind of agreement I would need to work all the harder to succeed on a gateway attachment with them, as you can guess who they'll throw the referral business to! So while I am not about to buy into diamond mine, knowing about it makes me reluctant to buy a gateway attachment as well."

We republish some of the public statements of Joe Stroup, a disgruntled ANS customer, who reports he was granted CIX connectivity by ANS without having to join the CIX.

We report that BARRnet has dropped its ANS CO+RE service in favor of a direct T-1 CIX connection. And finally we republish the evaluation of ANS by a senior network official: "I think they are a woefully mismanaged company which doesn't 'know what it wants to be when it grows up'. They had all the opportunities to walk away with the Internet access market and they blew them to companies such as PSI or Alternet , which didn't have 10% of their capitalization."

"The scandal, if there is one, is why did MCI, IBM and now Northern put money into this venture. If it was a charitible contribution how did they come to pick this particular charity?"

We focus our attention on ANS because we have heard from three different sources that it is conscensus among the technical reviewer community that the NSF intends to award the vBNS and NAPs to ANS and MCI.

LEGAL CHALLENGE TO NSF SOLICITATION 93 -52; NSF REBUTAL OF THIS CHALLENGE; NSB MEMORANDUM EXTENDING THE MERIT COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT. PP.12-21.

We republish these texts obtained under FOIA with their original pagination and formatting. Readers should see the article at the bottom of page 11 for a summary of the arguments.

The COOK Report expects that this will be the first of multiple challenges to the NSF's single minded determination to use the current atmosphere of the information superhighway gold rush to fortify its own network empire. We publish these documents in the hope that they may be useful to those who may wish to join these challengers in protesting the on going NSF juggernaught.