Thanks. As I was coming over toward Brussels in the airplane, happened look down the window and there were the Straits of Dover. And the melody just came to my mind, you know, “I’m flying over the white cliffs of Dover,” the World War II melody. And it reminded me that I am not of this Internet generation. I was of a previous Internet generation. And in my Internet generation, countries were just developing 64kbps networks and were looking to connect to what was then the center of gravity of the Internet, which was the NSFNET. And I was working at NSF.
And I took it upon myself as my mission to help them connect to us. And in doing that, I met with a good deal of resistance. Some within my own agency, and some from sister agencies of the US government who didn’t want NSF to get out in front of them. So a lot of my activity really was what you would politely call advocacy, and it was dealing with this resistance. But we managed with the Internet Connections Manager award to, one by one, connect countries at roughly 64kbps to the NSFNET.
And then by the mid-90s, when the NSFNET was decommissioned but we had faster network development networks, we followed Al Gore’s initiative to have a connection point for 45mbps networks, which at that point were considered to be broadband. And then toward just beyond 2000, a global ring for dedicated wavelength around the world for computationally-intensive research that involved the founding countries. You wouldn’t believe this if you didn’t know about it: Russia, China, and the United States together. And GLORIAD still exists.
So, in all of that, as I said some of it was a bit of a rough slog but it was very rewarding. And I wish I could thank all the people in all the countries who were our partners. And in the in the United States, my awardees and other people who worked very hard with me to make this happen. This certainly wasn’t mine alone. But two people that I want to recognize. One was a fellow awardee today, my boss Steve Wolff, because Steve pretended to look the other way and let me do my thing. As long as I pretended to stay out of trouble. And that wasn’t easy.
And the guy that kept me out of trouble was my very good colleague Don Mitchell. Don knew more about the rules and regulations of the US government and the National Science Foundation than almost anybody else. So he helped me steer around the rough parts, and he helped to bend the rules but not break them. And without his help, and without the cooperation of partners all over the world, really, we wouldn’t have been able to do what we did.
So that’s the story in a capsule. And I certainly thank the Internet Society and the advisory group who were kind enough to choose me for this honor. And in the name of all the people that worked with me to make all these things happen, I thank you and I am deeply honored.
Steve Goldstein profile, Internet Hall of Fame 2013