Bell Atlantic Chairman Ray Smith Touts Impact Of 'Next Generation Internet' Project
Federal Grant Program Will Fuel Bold Experiments Needed to Inspire Networks of Tomorrow, CEO Says
October 15, 1997
ARLINGTON, Va. -- The federal program to fund super-fast Internet
hook-ups between universities and national research labs and to
support bold experiments using these networks will help draw the
blueprint for "the world to come," according to Raymond W. Smith,
chairman and CEO of Bell Atlantic.
Smith, a leading proponent of networked information as a foundation
for all kinds of interpersonal commerce, added his endorsement to the
Next Generation Internet Initiative being spearheaded by the Clinton
administration's National Coordination Office for Computing,
Information and Communications.
Smith's endorsement coincides with the announcement Tuesday by Bell
Atlantic and the State of West Virginia that they will build a
versatile $20 million network linking government agencies, colleges
and universities, schools and not-for-profit health care providers.
The WEST VIRGINIA 2001 will employ Bell Atlantic's asynchronous
transfer mode (ATM) cell relay service to consolidate voice, data and
video services on single phone lines at extremely high speeds.
"The Internet is the most important development in mass communications
in our time," Smith said. "It is a major driver of economic growth in
the United States and around the globe.
"The President described the Net as 'our new town square, changing the
way we live, the way we work and the way we learn.' We at Bell
Atlantic endorse the initiative and look forward to the world to
come," Smith said.
Using NGI grants, links up to 1,000 times faster than today's
Internet will be built between universities and research centers.
Additional grants will support development of technologies that apply
that kind of capacity and experiments in putting the technologies to
work. Grants will fund experiments in distance education, health care
applications, environmental monitoring, manufacturing engineering,
national security and various research projects.
Bell Atlantic continues to experiment with transmission and switching
technologies applicable to Internet activity, leading up to what some
people are calling Internet 2. The company has developed a number of
high-speed, intra-campus network applications now being tested,
including one at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
"Bell Atlantic's broadband area network deployment is establishing a
foundation to help bring Internet 2 to life even today with projects
like WEST VIRGINIA 2001 and Net.Work.Virginia," said Diane Gongaware,
Bell Atlantic vice president-sales. The ATM technology used in both
networks is a natural for information retrieval because it allows vast
amounts of data to flow toward a customer while lesser amounts of
information, generally to guide or control the inflow, flows
"upstream" through the network.
"There are virtually no limits to what researchers -- and ultimately,
end-users -- can do with transmission capacities that are orders of
magnitude greater than what we have today," she said. "Networking
experimenters together, through the Next Generation Internet
Initiative, is an exciting and important step that will allow them to
begin to devise the applications that will one day be commonplace."
Gongaware noted that the Internet began as a university and government
communications experiment that grew to the network it is today because
of the innovations and experimentation of many individuals in all
segments of society.
The NGI Initiative, launched last year by the Clinton administration,
will rely on $100 million in funds budgeted for 1998. It will be
guided by various agencies, including the National Science Foundation,
the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Department of
Energy, National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National
Institutes of Health.
The new Bell Atlantic - formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and
NYNEX - is at the forefront of the new communications, information and
entertainment industry. With 40 million telephone access lines and
5.5 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are
premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market
leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of
directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the
world's largest investors in high-growth global communications
markets, with operations and investments in 21 countries.