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.

Further Reference

Steve Goldstein profile, Internet Hall of Fame 2013


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