Browse Prior Art Database

Building the open road: The NREN as test-bed for the national public network (RFC1259) Disclosure Number: IPCOM000002076D
Original Publication Date: 1991-Sep-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-11
Document File: 23 page(s) / 39K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

M. Kapor: AUTHOR

Related Documents

10.17487/RFC1259: DOI


This memo discusses the background and importance of NREN. This memo provides information for the Internet community. It does not specify an Internet standard.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 6% of the total text.

Network Working Group M. Kapor Request for Comments: 1259 Electronic Frontier Foundation September 1991

Building The Open Road: The NREN As Test-Bed For The National Public Network

Status of this Memo

This memo provides information for the Internet community. It does not specify an Internet standard. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.


A debate has begun about the future of America’s communications infrastructure. At stake is the future of the web of information links organically evolving from computer and telephone systems. By the end of the next decade, these links will connect nearly all homes and businesses in the U.S. They will serve as the main channels for commerce, learning, education, and entertainment in our society. The new information infrastructure will not be created in a single step: neither by a massive infusion of public funds, nor with the private capital of a few tycoons, such as those who built the railroads. Rather the national, public broadband digital network will emerge from the "convergence" of the public telephone network, the cable television distribution system, and other networks such as the Internet.

The United States Congress is now taking a critical step toward what I call the National Public Network, with its authorization of the National Research and Education Network (NREN, pronounced "en-ren"). Not only will the NREN meet the computer and communication needs of scientists, researchers, and educators, but also, if properly implemented, it could demonstrate how a broadband network can be used in the future. As policy makers debate the role of the public telephone and other existing information networks in the nation’s information infrastructure, the NREN can serve as a working test-bed for new technologies, applications, and governing policies that will ultimately shape the larger national network. Congress has indicated its intention that the NREN

would provide American researchers and educators with the computer and information resources they need, while demonstrating how advanced computer, high speed networks, and electronic databases can improve the national information infrastructure for use by all

Kapor [Page 1]

RFC 1259 Building The Open Road September 1991

Americans. (1)

As currently envisioned, the NREN

would connect more than one million people at more than one thousand colleges, universities, laboratories, and hospitals throughout the country, giving them access to computing power and information -- resources unavailable anywhere today -- and making possible the rapid proliferation of a truly nationwide, ubiquitous network... (2)

The combined demand of these users would develop innovative new services and further stimulate demand for existing network applications. Library information services, for example, have already grown dramatically on the NREN’s predecessor, the Internet, because the

enhanced connectivity permits scholars and researchers to communicate in new and different wa...