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Israel to Connect to Internet 2

By the end of May, Israel will be connecting to Internet 2 in Europe, announced Israel's science minister Silvan Shalom at the Internet 2 conference held last week in Tel Aviv.

At the beginning of June, Israel will also be connecting to the US Internet 2.

Golden Lines will be handling the European connection using an underwater cable of bandwidth 34 mbps. Gilat is in charge of the connection to the U.S., which will be implemented via satellite using a bandwidth of 45 mbps.

Minister Shalom stated that the government is treating the connection to Internet 2 as a national project for setting up R&D foundations. The government has allocated funds of $40 million for the coming four years, at a rate of $10 million per year.

"Internet 2 will help to bridge the physical distance between Israel and the industrial and research centers of Europe and the States," said Shalom.

The science minister and those in academic circles do not agree on the use that will be made of the network. The academics regard Internet 2 as solely for academic usage, whereas Shalom would like to see it in use in the private sector as well.

Shalom said his successor will have to make that decision since Israel is going to the polls next week, and if his party, Likud, is successful, he hopes to be given a more senior post in the new government.

U.S. vice president Al Gore, sent his best wishes to the participants of the conference.

"I am glad to see," wrote Gore "that American and Israeli scientists are collaborating to ensure the progress of the information network which will be so vital in the 21st century."

At the conference, Tom DeFanti of Illinois University, Chicago, spoke of the uses of Internet 2, for example, for remote studies or for medical purposes. He quoted results of research recently carried out in American colleges where they have begun working with Internet 2.

It seems that in these initial stages only technicians familiar with the network are using it. The applications are specifically for one use, are difficult to operate and do not interact with each other, nor with other colleges' systems.

In addition, the colleges do not update their objectives speedily enough. Generic network applications as well as suitable interfaces and workstations are necessary for the development of the network, stated DeFanti.



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