Budget cuts jeopardize NGI
- By Diane Frank, Natasha Haubold
- Jan 09, 2000
The Energy Department continues to bolster the Clinton administration's
initiative to build a faster Internet by providing its own funding, but
Congress' decision not to provide specific NGI funding to DOE in fiscal
2000 may be detrimental to all agency NGI projects.
DOE had used the Next Generation Internet (NGI) funding to provide grants
to universities to support research for the Energy Sciences Network (ESNet),
which is one of the five networks that will make up NGI.
Agencies involved in the NGI program have relied on discoveries made
by the universities, but DOE's funding cut will result in a reduction on
such research. "Technology we were looking at for 2000 and 2001 probably
won't be developed," said Kenneth Freeman, associate director of NGI at
NASA's Ames Research Center.
Nevertheless, NGI will move forward thanks to DOE's December award of a
$50 million contract to Qwest Communications International Inc. to upgrade
and replace ESNet. Qwest will build a network capable of transmitting more
than 1 trillion bits of data per second.
NGI is a multi-agency R&D program established in 1997 to kick-start
the development of network technology and applications. DOE, the Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency, NASA, the National Science Foundation,
the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Standards
and Technology have been working on NGI.