University access to Internet

Una Smith smith-una at
Fri Jun 11 15:28:09 EST 1993

Here's what the changing Internet looks like from the University of
North Carolina.  The attached letter was distributed verbatim via
Usenet on the UNC campus.


------------------------ Text of forwarded message -----------------------

To:     Deans, Directors, Chairs
From:   William H. Graves
         Associate Provost for Information Technology
Re:     Governor Hunt's "Information Highway" and related matters
Date:   May 27, 1993
On May 10, Governor Hunt announced the state's intention to enter into
a contract with North Carolina's three major telephone companies
(Carolina Telephone, GTE, and Southern Bell) to supply a state-wide
fiber-optic network based on Asynchronous Transfer Mode technology.
(See the News & Observer of May 23 for a popular account of the
Governor's plan.)  His announcement represents an opportunity for the
University, but an opportunity that is laced with uncertainties.
These uncertainties are akin to those attributed to the national
academic community in an article on page 17 of the May 26 issue of the
Chronicle of Higher Education reporting the intention of the National
Science Foundation to "give the private sector more responsibility for
the network" -- the Internet.  Concerns about North Carolina's plan
include (1) its cost to the University and (2) the functionality
associated with a network that is being designed with little
representation from UNC institutions and with no official
representation from the research institutions in Chapel Hill and
The University-wide fiber-optic backbone network that just now is
beginning to move from plan to implementation will enable UNC-CH's
participation in North Carolina's "Information Highway" and in the
national/global Internet beyond.  Full implementation will take
several years and will not be without difficulties.  For example, it
will be impossible to connect any more departments or buildings to the
University's extant coaxial data backbone network unless we can
purchase the no-longer-manufactured connecting technologies in the
used equipment market.
State and national networking initiatives are critical to the
University and to your units, even if they are complex and not easily
understood.  We will gladly discuss these matters with you as you plan
and budget for the years ahead.  Please consider attending, or sending
a representative to, an open meeting scheduled in 1301 McGavran-
Greenberg from 1-2:30 on Wednesday, June 23.  We will review the
history and context of the Governor's initiative and suggest several
vehicles for communicating your views to him.  Meanwhile, I commend to
you the articles from the Chronicle and the News & Observer and invite
you to contact me or Anne Parker at 2-7155 or Jim Gogan at 2-1621 for
additional clarification.
cc:  Advisory Committees for Information Technology and Communications
     Computer Center Directors
     Information Resources Coordinating Council

-------------------------- End of forwarded message -----------------------

      Una Smith      Department of Biology       smith-una at
                     Yale University
                     New Haven, CT  06511

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