Don't shortchange NGI

That's a subject of debate between the administration and Congress. It appears--as it
often has lately--that the Clinton administration is less in favor of something than
Congress is agin' it. Just as Clinton caved in on management of IRS, so he is letting
Congress set the agenda for NGI by not strongly defending the administration's $105
million budget request for NGI research.

As GCN reported last month, the House is willing to part with $78 million and the
Senate $35 million for NGI research [GCN, Oct. 20, Page 48].

At conference after conference, speech after speech, I hear about the partnership
between industry and government to deliver useful information technology. If ever that
partnership was important, it is now for NGI. NASA officials have said that by 2000 they
want to have 100 government and academic sites on a 644-megabit/sec NGI backbone and 10
sites communicating at 2.5 gigabits/sec.

Whether in contracts for the research itself, in procurements by agencies and companies
for NGI components such as superfast switches, or simply in making profitable use of a
644-megabit/sec infrastructure, the private sector ultimately will benefit most from NGI.

I don't say this to minimize the government's need for NGI; that need is real and
pressing. But there's no reason to assume that the technology initiative should be any
different from earlier ones in being widely adopted for private use.

True, the original Internet was largely a government-academia effort, and decades
passed before it became the wildly popular medium we know today. But now that the Internet
is part of our daily lives, you can expect NGI to go fully commercial in no time flat.

How about a little horse sense:

Let's get this one off the ground.

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