From NSF to ISP


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1995 was the year that ISPs became the dominant gateway to the information superhighway. But how’d we go from ARPANET all the way to that? It turns out, none of it would have happened without a team of intrepid engineers at the University of Michigan.
Marc Weber tells us how a tension between academics and the military set the next evolution of the ARPANET. Douglas Van Houweling discusses the work his MERIT team did at the University of Michigan to build the national backbone of the NSFNET. Elise Gerich, MERIT’s systems manager, talks about how they made the leap from a T1 connection to a T3 to handle traffic from their growing network. And Janet Abbate emphasizes how all this set the stage for the commercialized internet that birthed the dot-com boom in 1995.

If you want to read up on some of our research on the NSFNET, you can check out all our bonus material over at Follow along with the episode transcript.

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