IBM, MCI Form Firm To Aid Research Network

Wall Street Journal

New York -- September 18, 1990 -- International Business Machines Corp., MCI Communications Corp. and a small software company said they formed a company to manage a nationwide computer network for researchers.

The announcement, though limited, is an early step in a broad effort to speed communication among researchers and to tie many more of them into the network. Sometimes likening the effort to the building of the interstate highway network in the 1950s, supporters argue that the data network would improve the quality of innovation in the U.S.

IBM, MCI and the software company, Merit Inc., said their not-for-profit company will manage the federally financed National Science Foundation Network, an existing network known as NSFNET. The new company, called Advanced Network & Service Inc., will also try to improve the services available to users and expand the network to include more researchers at universities, federal laboratories and corporations.

The three parents said the network will provide for communication at rates as high as 45 million bits of information a second -- a thirtyfold increase over the current capability. Down the road, a further fifteenfold increase will be possible.

Allan H. Weis, who is leaving IBM to run the new company, said that companies that use the network will pay a fee, marking "the first time that industry has stepped up with green money and supported (the network effort) in a very visible way."


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