Afterthoughts: YATS 20

Larry Press brings us some afterthoughts for YATS 20.

That claim that Xerox invented the Internet is so wrong!

Governments (US, England and others) funded the research and theory leading to the ARPANet, which demonstrated the feasibility of a large scale network. Critical mass and training were achieved when the US government funded the spread of networking to universities through CSNET for computer science departments, the National Science Foundation NSFNet for connecting all US colleges and universities and the NSF International Connections program, which brought in university and research networks in 28 nations, most of which were in the developing world.

Was it a good investment? The ARPAnet cost $25 million, CSNET $5 million, the NSFNET backbone $57.9 million, connecting universities to the backbone $30 million, and the NSF International connections program $6.6 million. The US taxpayer got a pretty good return on an investment of $124.5 million.

The Internet is not the only example of government support paying off in networking. The US Congress gave Samuel Morse $30k to install a line between Washington and Baltimore to test the feasibility of the telegraph system he had invented and, when he invented the Web, Tim Berners Lee was working at CERN, which is funded by 20 European governments.

Read more on my blog.