Not the end of the Internet

Mike Cherry cherry at genome.Stanford.EDU
Tue Jun 8 21:49:29 EST 1993

Here is a good collection of messages on this topic.
Date: 07 Jun 1993 11:53:31 -0500 (EST)
From: Carl Dassbach <DASSBACH at>
Subject: RE: Internet Threat?
In-reply-to: Your message of 07 Jun 1993 11:16:57 -0500 (EST)

Attached is the information that I have readily available.  Sorry, I have
not been able to edit it.  I have been swamped with requests.


Carl H.A. Dassbach


From: "Martha E. Gimenez (303) 492-7080" <GIMENEZ_M at>
To: dassbach at
X-Listserver-Version: 6.0 -- UNIX ListServer by Anastasios Kotsikonas

Dear PSNers:

So far, we have been enjoying the wonderful possibilities for exchanging ideas
and building communities offered by Internet without asking ourselves how it
is that we can actually avail ourselves of this technology.  The time has come
to become aware of the dangers to our unrestrained use of Internet.  In fact,
the future of PSN and countless other lists is in jeopardy.  So far, Internet
has been subsidized by the government and is, for all practical purposes, a
public good which can be put to a variety of uses within and outside academia.
As the message forwarded below indicates, there is a bill in congress which is
intended to end government subsidies and give control of Internet to the
telephone companies.  Internet will become a commodity, prices will rise, many
 universities and colleges already constrained by budget cuts might give it up
while those that keep it will charge the users.  This will keep students and
underpaid faculty without grants out of the networks and many academic and
political listservs like PSN might have to disappear in virtual space :-(

So, if you enjoy PSN and other lists, please write to your representatives in
congress highlighting the importance of keeping Internet as a public good.
This is not only something useful for us, academics living in  the wealthy
"North;"  it helps keep progressive social thought alive in the poorer
countries and facilitates communications among workers organizations and
political activists (you might consider joining Labor-L for more information
about that) , something which is of vital importance at a time when regional
economic agreements like NAFTA are changing the economic and political space.

In solidarity,

> >From @CMSA.BERKELEY.EDU:owner-gutnberg at VMD.CSO.UIUC.EDU Tue May 18 15:40:44
> Date:         Tue, 18 May 1993 17:40:21 CDT
> From: Keith Dennis <dennis at>
> Subject:      Future of the Internet?
> To: Multiple recipients of list GUTNBERG
>Forwarded via Project Gutenberg--Reply to Specific Addressee, Please.
> dennis at  Keith Dennis
> ----------------------------Original message----------------------------
> Dear Professor Hart,
> you may wish to alert the readership of Gutenberg that the Internet as
> we know it may be shortly destroyed by our Congress.  A bill written
> by Rep. Rick Boucher (D, Virginia), chair of the House Science
> Subcommittee will remove government subsidies and place control with
> the telephone companies.  A likely consequence will be a substantial
> increase of cost to universities with the likelihood that some will
> drop out or charge for use by individuals.  This not only threatens
> Project Gutenberg, but all other academic uses of the nets.  Perhaps
> it is time to notify our representatives of the value of the
> internet for educational, scientific, and other scholarly uses.
> Additional information can be found in "Colleges and Telephone
> Companies Battle over the Future of the Internet", page A25,
> The Chronicle of Higher Education, vol. 39 #37, May 19, 1993.
> Keith Dennis
> ____________________________________________________________________________
>   Gustavo J. Llavaneras S.            University of California - Berkeley
> ____________________________________________________________________________
> gllavane at             Knowledge-Based Computer Aided Design
> c60a-kb at      ___________________________________________
> gllavane at       Universidad Central de Venezuela - Caracas
> ____________________________________________________________________________
======================================================================== 75
Date:         Fri, 4 Jun 1993 16:41:32 CDT
Reply-To:     History of the Iberian Peninsula
Subject:      Internet and Commerical Operators.
To:           Multiple recipients of list ESPORA-L <ESPORA-L at UKANVM.BITNET>

Thanks for the citation, Carl. I checked it and the follow-up article
(Chronicle of Higher Education, 26 May, p. A17, entitled "NSF releases long
awaited plan to reduce U.S. role in the Internet").

Basically, the National Science Foundation maintains the NSFNET, which is the
"trunk line" to which all of the regional networks are connected to form
Internet as a whole. The government provides $11.5 million annually to support
NSFnet, and another $7,000,000 to subsidize the local networks. The local
networks' other income comes from institutional fees (up to $40,000 per year
for a big school) that depend up the institution's size and not the volume of
Internet traffic that it generates.

The current arrangements for the operation of the NSFnet come to an end on 30
April 1994, and NSF wants a much improved NSFnet with increases in
transmission speed of 300-500 %. It intends to let out contracts for the
establishment and the operation of NSFnet to private companies under
government contract and intends to end its subsidies to local networks over a
four-year period after that. The Clinton administration is reportedly in favor
of direct grants to schools to defray their expenses rather than doing so
indirectly through the local networks.

The communications companies wish to divorce NSFnet from other Internet
operations. Specifically, they want NSFnet to be reserved for high-speed
communications between the several super-computer sites that crunch data for
the sciences. They would be allowed to establish a privately controlled and
operated "trunk line" for other Internet uses and to charge local networks for
accessing that line.

EDUCOM, a consortium of educational telecommunication "consumers," estimate
that this arrangement would probably raise their costs from 10%-30%, but are
more apprehensive that the private owners would turn from flat rate fees to
charging either by traffic or on-line time. In point of fact, although not
mentioned in either article, divisions of the telephone company have tried to
establish traffic charges, in some states, based upon the volume of
information transferred. These proposals have been struck down on the basis
that the volume of traffic per unit time has no effect upon the companies'
costs and thus should have no effect upon their charges. If the companies
operate a trunk line designed for information transfer and can appeal to the
national rather than state governments, their requests might be viewed quite
differently. Such a development would affect the Internet and our use of it
quite dramatically.

NSF has announced its plans, but it is not clear what relationship there is
between these and the discussions in Congressional committees. At any rate,
Carl has brought up a serious and pressing issue, and I thank him for doing

Some of you, both users in the United States and those in other countries, may
wish to express your opinion of this situation. Fortunately, the White House
has just completed its e-mail system and has announced its wish that people
communicate with it. I will search out that announcement and post it later for
your information and for the e-addresses it contains.


Department of History
University of Kansas
======================================================================== 66
Date: Fri, 4 Jun 1993 15:37:17 -0600
Reply-To: steve at
Sender: wsn at
From: Stephen Wolff <steve at>
To: dassbach at
X-Comment:                   WORLD SYSTEMS NETWORK

This is the respone to my earlier posting from the responsible office
and person at NSF.

Okay, we all know that INTERNET was never really free but I can't help observin
g that this sounds like bureaucratic "double talk" which is, as we know "double
 plus ungood".

This is the responsible office in the NSF, and I am the responsible person.

There is no "plan to limit free use of INTERNET..."

In the first place, there is no such thing as "free use of INTERNET".  Each
and every institution with Internet access pays a service provider real money
every year for the institution's connection.  Most institutions do not
however trickle those charges down to users, but 

More information about the Bioforum mailing list