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Sites soon for Internet2

The Internet2 project, an initiative by 100 U.S. universities to build a new, faster Internet, could have sites within six months.

The Internet2 project, an attempt by 100 U.S. universities to build a new, faster Internet, today received commitments that the first sites would be connected within six months.

Plans for the next 100 days include further developing engineering teams, adding a technical architecture, establishing industry partnerships, and building relationships with federal agencies involved, such as the National Science Foundation.

The project, dubbed I2, already has received more than $50 million in funding since it was announced in October, the group of universities said. The announcement came after the group's first general meeting in San Francisco.

"This is a very hard task, but supporting leading-edge research, and delivering education anytime, anywhere, anyplace depends on having an infrastructure like this," said Gary Augustson of Pennsylvania State University, the chair of I2's steering committee. "The community clearly feels better that we've all met and developed a good definition of where the project is going, the timeline it is on, and that we've leveled expectations between participants."

Added Ted Hanss of the University of Michigan: "Increasing the speed of the network will enable qualitative, not just quantitative, changes in the applications available."

The project has become a key part of the Clinton administration's $100 million Internet initiative.

Internet2 is perhaps more like the intranets being started by companies to step up office communications. It is intended to let students use the Net for high-speed transmission of voice, video and data.