Previous slide Next slide Back to the first slide View text version


While at NSF as the head of the Computing Directorate, I led an interagency team that proposed the plan for what is now Internet. This was done in response to a Gore Bill . It's the only example I can sight that government agencies ever got together.

What we proposed was to grow capacity a hundred thousand fold from 50 kilobits to 5 gigabits from 1987 to 2002. It's turning out to be almost right, but conservative. We wanted a universal service for education and research, and proposed a three step plan for growing bandwidth.

It was to be able to access common facilities including supercomputers. Supercomputers were hot. Politicians love them because they can give money for centers and make sure everyone comes to Washington to beg. We said sure, this is for supercomputers, knowing full well they were irrelevant. The idea was to simulate communication and access databases, to transmit images and video. And then we wanted to build a hierarchy of networks, not just a single network. The government is going to put in a superhighway structure to allow other networks to connect. That is we were building a hierarchy with regional networks down to campus networks.