The Information Superhighway :
Status and Issues
Marcia S . Smith
Specialist in Science and Technology Policy
Science Policy Research Division
December 2, 1994
THE INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY :
STATUS AND ISSUES
As the media devote increasing attention to the "information superhighway," many question whether this latest high-tech creation is fact, fantasy,
or a distant future . The answer is one of perspective and expectations .
For those who think of the Information Superhighway ("I-way") in terms
of computers around the country and the world connected to each other, forming
large networks that allow instant access to vast amounts of information and
people, a prototype system already exists, the Internet . To those with a more
expansive vision, Internet is at best a two-lane road, and the Superhighway still
in its earliest stages of construction . Vice President Gore's vision, called the
National Information Infrastructure (NII), would provide "a seamless web of
communications networks, computers, databases, and consumer electronics that
will put vast amounts of information at users' fingertips ." The Vice President's
frequent references to enabling every school in America to access the collections
of the Library of Congress has become symbolic of the ultimate capability of the
Superhighway, but such access will require billions of dollars of investment in
technology, hardware, software, training, and "digitizing" the vast amounts of
text, audio, and video material currently in other forms . Clearly that vision is
far from realization, even though the private sector is already making
substantial investments . The Vice President also wants the NII expanded to the
world, calling it the Global Information Infrastructure (GII) .
A key ingredient in how fast construction of the Superhighway proceeds is
developing applications that are so vital or fun that consumers, businesses, and
government organizations will invest in the equipment, software and training
needed (called "killer applications" or "killer apps") . How information and
services are transmitted -- by fiber optic cables, terrestrial radio waves, or
satellites -- will be less important than what is transmitted . The regulatory
environment will be another important factor in how quickly the Superhighway
develops . Legislation to enable cable television and telephone companies to offer
each other's services under certain conditions ("cable-telco crossownership") was
debated in, but did not clear, the 103d Congress . Further debate is expected in
the 104th. The Government also has an important role to play in issues such
as protection of copyright, privacy, security, and ensuring that the
Superhighway is accessible to rich and poor, urban and rural Americans alike .
Just as the automobile changed American society, so could the Information
Superhighway. Telecommuting ("commuting' to the office by linking a home
computer with one at the office, rather than actually driving there) may become
more common, and voters may participate more in public policy through "town
hall" meetings in the comfort of their living rooms, for example . Widespread
delivery of services ranging from home shopping to health care to education
could further the impact of the Information Superhighway on all aspects of
TABLE OF CONTENTS
THE NATIONAL INFORMATION INFRASTRUCTURE (NII) AND
THE GLOBAL INFORMATION INFRASTRUCTURE (GII) 1
The September 1993 NII Report
The March 1994 GII Speech
STATUS OF CONSTRUCTION : SUPERHIGHWAY
What Traverses the Highway
How It Travels : Wired and Wireless, Highways and Skyways
Pilot Projects and Emerging Applications
What More is Needed
ISSUES FOR CONGRESSIONAL CONSIDERATION 16
Universal Access and Open Access :
Avoiding "Haves and Have-Nots"
Privacy and Security
Intellectual Property Rights
Federal Role in Applications and
Research and Development
RELATED CRS PRODUCTS
THE INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY:
STATUS AND ISSUES
I believe that, for a long time to come, this information
superhighway, far from resembling a modern interstate, will more
likely approach a roadway in India : chaotic, crowded and swarming
with cows .
Arthur Ochs Sulzberger
Publisher, New York Times
May 25, 1994 1
THE NATIONAL INFORMATION INFRASTRUCTURE (NII) AND
THE GLOBAL INFORMATION INFRASTRUCTURE (GII)
Though development and use of information technologies has been
expanding dramatically for many years, the current media blitz about the
Information Superhighway was stimulated by a September 1993 report initiated
by Vice President Gore in which he proposed creating a "National Information
Infrastructure" (NII) . He defined the NII as "a seamless web of communications
networks, computers, databases, and consumer electronics that will put vast
amounts of information at users' fingertips ." The terms "Information
Superhighway" and "National Information Infrastructure" (NII) have become
virtually synonymous, though strictly speaking the "superhighway" refers to the
telecommunications links while NII also encompasses the applications enabled
by it .
In March 1994, Vice President Gore expanded his vision from the Nation
to the world in a speech in Buenos Aires, Argentina . Coining the phrase "Global
Information Infrastructure" (GII), he discussed how the type of capabilities
announced in the NII report (see below) should be made available to everyone
around the globe .
NII and GII are not technologies, but capabilities enabled by advances in
technology . The extent to which the Information Superhighway, or "I-way,"
exists today depends on an individual's expectations and perceptions . Clearly
Mr . Sulzberger (quoted above) feels that the Superhighway is not here yet, at
least in a workable form. Others may disagree, especially the 25 million users
i Quoted in : New York Times Chief: `Info Superhighway' Swarming with
Cows. Associated Press, May 26, 1994. 02 :55 AET.
of Internet, a "network of networks" often described as a prototype of the Iway . 2 While Internet is arguably a two-lane road, not a superhighway, it is one
example of the building blocks of Vice President Gore's vision that exists
The September 1993 NII Report
Shortly after taking office, Vice President Gore created the Information
Infrastructure Task Force (IITF), chaired by Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown .
On September 15, 1993, the IITF released the report National Information
Infrastructure : Agenda for Action . 3
The Vice President's report notes that the NII encompasses a wide range
of equipment including cameras, scanners, keyboards, telephones, fax machines,
computers, switches, compact disks, video and audio tape, cable, wire, satellites,
optical fiber transmission lines, microwave nets, televisions, monitors, and
printers . All of these would be interconnected "in a technologically neutral
manner so that no one industry will be favored over any other ."
The Vice President's report identifies nine principles for Government
action : to promote private sector investment ; extend "universal service" to
ensure that information resources are available to all at affordable prices ;
promote technological innovation and new applications ; promote seamless,
interactive, user-driven operation ; ensure information security and network
reliability; improve management of the radio frequency spectrum ; protect
intellectual property rights ; coordinate with other levels of Government
(domestic and foreign) and other bodies ; and provide access to Government
information and improve Government procurement .
The report also points out anticipated economic benefits of the NH, and
outlines major applications . Subsequently, the Vice President made two
speeches providing further details on the NII, one at the National Press Club
(Washington, D .C .) on December 21, 1993, and the other to the Academy of
Television Arts and Sciences (Los Angeles, CA) on January 11, 1994 . In these
2 Internet originated in 1969 when the U .S . Department of Defense (DOD)
established a world-wide network to preserve communications capabilities in the
event routine communications pathways were disrupted . Called ARPANET
(after DOD's Advanced Research Projects Agency), it was split into two
networks in 1984 . One, DDN (Defense Data Network) continues to exist and
is part of Internet, while the other (which retained the name ARPANET) ceased
operation because other networks, particularly the National Science
Foundation's NSFNet, made it obsolete . See : U .S . Library of Congress .
Congressional Research Service . Welcome to Cyberia : An Internet Guide . CRS
Report 94-471 C, by Rita Tehan . Washington, May 12, 1994 .
U .S . Vice President Albert Gore . Information Infrastructure Task Force .
The National Information Infrastructure : Agenda for Action . [Washington],
Sept. 15, 1993 . Hereinafter called "the Vice President's report ."
speeches, he narrowed to five the principles on which he saw the Government
encourage private investment ; provide and protect
taking the lead role :
competition ; provide "open access" ; avoid creating information "haves and have
nots" ; and encourage flexible and responsive Government action . A particular
emphasis is on assuring that all classrooms, libraries, hospitals and clinics are
connected to the superhighway by the year 2000 . In many of his speeches, the
Vice President refers to the goal of allowing a schoolchild in his hometown of
Carthage, Tennessee to go home, turn on her computer, and plug into the
Library of Congress . Hence, future access to the collections of the Library of
Congress has become symbolic of the promise of the Superhighway .
The IITF continues to explore the multitude of issues involved in this
complex endeavor, with committees established to address specific issues such
as privacy and access to government information . On September 23, 1993, the
same day IITF's report was released, President Clinton established a National
Information Infrastructure Advisory Council to facilitate private sector input to
these issues (Executive Order 12864) . A May 1994 IITF report explores many
of the issues associated with and potential applications of the NIL including
manufacturing, electronic commerce, health care, education, environmental
The IITF working
monitoring, libraries, and government service delivery .
group on intellectual property rights released its preliminary report in July
1994, and the applications working group released its second report
September 1994 .'
The March 1994 GII Speech
On March 21, 1994, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Vice President gave an
address to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in which he
expanded the concept of the NII from the Nation to the world, calling it the
Global Information Infrastructure (GII), a global network of networks .
In the speech, the Vice President called creation of a GII "an essential
prerequisite to sustainable development, for all members of the human family"
and asserted that it would "spread participatory democracy," becoming "a
metaphor for democracy itself ." Furthermore he argued that GII would be "the
key to economic growth for national and international economies ." He proposed
that the GII be built using the same five principles he outlined for the NII .
'U .S . Dept . of Commerce . National Institute of Standards and Technology .
Putting the Information Infrastructure to Work : Report of the Information
Infrastructure Task Force Committee on Applications and Technology .
Washington, U .S . Govt . Print . Off., 1994 . 109 p .
s U .S . Dept . of Commerce . Information Infrastructure Task Force . (1)
Intellectual Property Rights and the National Information Infrastructure : a
Preliminary Draft of the Report of the Working Group on Intellectual Property
Rights . July 1994 ; and (2) The Information Infrastructure : Reaching Society's
Goals, Sept . 1994 .
The speech focused attention on the role of satellites, which are especially
useful for global communications . While undersea cables (copper and fiber optic)
connect the United States with Europe and parts of Asia, it is expensive to lay
cables to link continents, so satellites are used instead (satellites also provide
additional capacity for areas that are linked by cable) . Satellites are uniquely
valuable in areas such as developing countries that lack terrestrial
infrastructure . The need for developing countries to tie into the GII was
emphasized by Vice President Gore, who commented that it is not lack of
economic development that causes poor telecommunications, but primitive
telecommunications that cause poor economic development .
STATUS OF CONSTRUCTION : SUPERHIGHWAY
Whether or not the Information Superhighway exists today is chiefly a
matter of perspective and expectations . Skeptics disdainfully label it the
"superhypeway" because there is so much media "hype" about it . The frustration
evident in Arthur Sulzberger's comment stems from that hype versus reality .
While the full vision embodied in the NII is billions of dollars and decades
away from realization, a significant number of building blocks are here . In its
broadest sense, the Superhighway connects users throughout the world to
enable the exchange of information . Hence, telephones, television (broadcast
and cable), and radio are elements of the Superhighway . Ninety-four percent
of American households have telephone service, 99 percent have radio and
broadcast (over-the-air) television, and 62 .5 percent of households with
television subscribe to cable television .' Four million households receive
television directly from satellites via back-yard dish antennas . Other electronic
and telecommunications systems are becoming equally commonplace . Nineteen
million Americans have pagers . Forty seven percent of adult Americans have
automatic teller machine (ATM) cards, and there are more than 16 million
cellular telephone subscribers in the United States . All of these are building
blocks of the Superhighway .
6 The statistics cited here are from a variety of sources published at different
times during 1994, and reflect percentages that were valid at certain points in
time . Not surprisingly, the number of people using the I-way or equipped to do
so, such as those owning computers, is steadily increasing . Hence, the figures
in this report quickly will be out of date . Among the sources for specific
statistics are speeches by Vice President Gore ; Transnational Data and
Communications Report (July/Aug . 1994, p . 11); Broadcasting and Cable (Aug .
22, 1994, p . 50) ; and the Wall Street Journal (Nov . 21, 1994, p. B5) .
Still, most people associate the Information Superhighway concept with
computers . Computers provide digital links (rather than analog) 7 and many
people assume that computers will be the appliance that connects people (the
"on-ramp") to the Superhighway . Thirty-two percent of American homes have
computers today, though only 12 percent also have modems that connect
computers with each other via telephone lines . Modems allow access to
computer services such as electronic mail (e-mail) and information retrieval
through networks like CompuServe, Prodigy and America On-Line (AOL) .
Those companies alone have 4 .6 million users (CompuServe, 1 .6 million;
Prodigy, 2 million ; AOL, 1 million) . Millions more access computer services
through systems at universities, government institutions, and private businesses .
Internet, in turn, connects these and other networks worldwide (hence the term
"network of networks") .
and modem ("hardNUMBER OF INTERNET NETWORKS
ware") and a set of
(Tehan, Rita . Welcome to Cyberia: An Internet Guide . CRS Report 94-471 C .
May 12, 1994 .)
computer instructions ("software")
enable any person
reach into the
("the Net") . A high
school student in
Dallas can connect
with fellow students next door in
Fort Worth or as
far away as Russia .
If she has other
software and her
computer is properly equipped
with "graphics drivers" and other specialized hardware, she can call up images
from the Vatican exhibit held at the Library of Congress or pictures of the Moon
from the Clementine spacecraft.'
In fact, one of the biggest complaints about Internet is not that it accesses
too little information, but how difficult it is to find a specific item amidst the
For a definition of "digital," "analog," and other terms in this report, see :
U.S . Library of Congress . Congressional Research Service . The Information
Superhighway: An Annotated Glossary . CRS Report 94-468 C, by James Riehl .
Washington, June 2, 1994 . 6 p .
Clementine is a joint Department of Defense-National Aeronautics and
Space Administration spacecraft that sent back data about the Moon in early
vast number of sources instantly available from around the world . Another
complaint is that, as a highway, it has a lot of potholes . Descriptions of
information available by "clicking" on a menu item with a computer pointing
device called a "mouse" often do not match users' expectations . A researcher
may think he has struck a goldmine of information on a particular topic, only
to discover it is no more than a terse index with little utility . Retrieving graphic
images may require specialized software or hardware, which users cannot
determine until attempting to display the image on their computer monitors,
with frustrating results .
Meanwhile, Internet's new popularity has veteran
users complaining that their network, once the province of scientific researchers
communicating among each other at universities and government laboratories,
has been taken over by "squatters" who use it for commerce or junk mail instead
of research .'
Also, even with the millions of Internet users already on-line, access to this
wealth of information is limited to a small segment of society today . As noted,
only 12 percent of homes have computers with modems, and an April 1994
Harris poll found that only one-third of the people surveyed had heard, seen or
read anything about the Superhighway . Of those who had, 11 percent said they
understood the superhighway "very well," 29 percent understood it "quite well,"
while 59 percent said they understood it "not very well" or "not at all ."" On
the other hand, a poll by Porter/Novelli Consumer Technology Group, asked
1,000 Americans where they were on the Superhighway and 33 percent said that
were "going the speed limit in the right lane" while 11 percent said they were
"passing everyone on the left ."" Only 1 percent responded "going nowhere,"
and 9 percent said they were "going the wrong way ." Eleven percent said they
were "at a nearby pit stop," and 18 percent were "on the entrance ramp ."
The more expansive expectations associated with the I-way, such as
enabling all schools in America to instantly access the contents of the Library
of Congress, is far in the future . What is missing is the rest of the physical
infrastructure including interactive (two-way) links, and the immense amount
of untapped information not in digital form . For example, though a small
number of exhibits at the Library of Congress, selected collections, and the
Library's computerized card catalog can be viewed via Internet, these are only
a small percentage of the millions of books, photographs, maps, recordings, and
other items in the Library's collections -- and the Library is only one example
of the collections of video and text data that could someday be available over
telecommunications links .
s Culture Shock on the Networks . Science, Aug . 12, 1994 . p . 879 .
o Maddox, Kate . Poll : 59 Percent in the Dark on Information Highway .
Electronic Media, May 16, 1994 . p . 8 .
" Mills, Mike . Doing the Speed Limit on the Information Superhighway
Washington Post, Aug. 2, 1994 . p . Dl .
Does the I-way exist today or not? Certainly pockets of highly visible
projects exist; these are the ones making headlines . But widespread use and
integration of these information services has not been achieved yet . A number
of building blocks already are in place, such as telephones, radio and television
which are used by virtually everyone in America . Thousands of computer
networks exist, and Internet ties many of them together . Still, whether these
collectively constitute even a highway is a matter of debate, but they are not yet
a superhighway . Rather they whet the appetite for (or induce anxiety about)
the Information Superhighway to come .
What Traverses the Highway
For the purposes of this report, what exists today is a highway .
Information that traverses it includes routine services such as telephony,
television, radio, electronic banking, and paging and messaging services, as well
as electronic mail (e-mail), which includes bulletin boards that allow users to
chat with one another (anonymously if desired) . Whether for fun or business,
e-mail has become a favorite method of communications among those with
modem-equipped computers . Though accessing Internet is not a requirement
(users of a particular network can communicate with each other without going
through Internet), Internet is widely used because of its reach .
Over these networks, what is transmitted can be as banal as an endless
dialogue about teenage fashion on a "chat" bulletin board, or as poignant as
medical data on a sick child in Arizona whose life depends on the expertise of
doctors at the Mayo Clinic . It can be as erudite as the complete works of
Shakespeare, or as controversial as pornography . Any information that can be
transmitted in digital form can travel on the electronic paths that already exist .
Businesses are well established users of the highw y . Local Area Networks
(LANs) have become widespread for intra-office connectivity, and electronic mail
Transmitting business data via
is used in offices as well as at home .
telecommunications links has been common domestically and internationally for
decades, and with each new revolution in telecommunications technologies,
companies become increasingly dependent on high-bandwidth, 12 secure, reliable
"Telecommuting" by connecting homes and offices
electronically to enable people to work from home rather than commuting into
an office is practiced by relatively few people today, but is viewed by some as a
promising alternative for the future .
Bandwidth is a measure of a system's capacity. The higher the bandwidth,
the more information can be transmitted .
A Times Mirror Center for the People survey found that 21 million people
telecommuted at least one day a week last winter . Technology in the American
Household . Transnational Data and Communications Report, July/Aug . 1994 .
p . 11
Still, some analysts conclude that it is the home market, not business, that
now is driving the development of personal computer (PC) technology . Business
Week published statistics in November 1994 showing that the share of U .S . PC
shipments for home users will surpass that for business users in 1997,
concluding that "Nearly 20 years after the first crude personal computers were
cobbled together, the PC is finding a home -- yours .1114
How It Travels : Wired and Wireless, Highways and Skyways
Three pathways are available for transmitting information today:
terrestrial radiowaves (broadcast television, radio, cellular telephones, some long
distance telephone routes etc .) ; cables (cable television, most local and some long
distance telephone and data services) ; and satellites (domestic and international
telephone, television and data) . Cables are referred to as "wired" means of
communications, while terrestrial radiowave and satellite systems are
"wireless ."' Cables and terrestrial radiowave systems are located on the Earth
so are called "highways" while satellites, in space, are called "skyways ."
Together, wired and wireless highways and skyways provide the means for
transmitting information locally, nationally and globally . While it is popular to
debate whether or not satellites are needed in the era of fiber optic cables (which
rival satellites in terms of bandwidth, an important measure of how much
information can be transmitted at a time), in fact it is likely that both will have
a place in the information future just as they do today . In fact, the two can
work together, and ensuring that satellite and terrestrial systems are
interoperable is an issue being addressed by NII advocates
House . 16
Large areas of developed countries like the United States and most
European countries have been wired with coaxial (coax) cables for cable
television and copper wires for telephones during the past decades . These older
cables are being replaced on high-traffic routes with fiber optic cables that can
carry much more information, but coax and copper are expected to remain the
mainstay of "the last mile" between the cables and an individual home or office .
Rewiring the last mile with fiber optic cables would be quite expensive, and new
Home Computers . Business Week, Nov . 28, 1994 . p . 91 .
s Over-the-air transmission of subscription television programming similar
to cable television has yielded the oxymoron "wireless cable," formally called
Multimedia Multipoint Distribution System (MMDS) . For more on wireless
cable, see : U .S . Library of Congress . Congressional Research Service . Cable
Television--And Eight Other Contributors to Competition in Multichannel TV
Service . CRS Report 92-785 SPR, by David Hack . Washington, Nov . 3, 1992 .
Two articles in the February 1994 issue of Via Satellite by representatives
of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy address this issue :
The Role of Satellites in the National Information Infrastructure Initiative by
Richard DalBello, and Satellite Communications in the National Information
Infrastructure, by Robert J . Bonometti .
digital compression technologies increase the amount of information copper and
coax can carry . At least two options exist for high-capacity local access by
business and residential customers . The first is integrated service digital
network (ISDN) technology now available to about 50 percent of all telephone
company customers . ISDN service substantially boosts the carrying capacity and
transmission quality of ordinary telephone lines . For a variety of reasons,
demand for ISDN service among telephone customers has been slow to
materialize, but is now picking up . The second option is to make use of the
enormous carrying capacity of the coaxial cable connections used by the cable
television industry . This option would require extensive interconnection of the
existing cable systems to the digital switching infrastructure owned by telephone
companies . While a few cable systems have begun to offer limited telephone
services to large business customers as "competitive access providers" and
experiment with providing high-capacity Internet access, little of the required
interconnection between cable networks and telephone networks has taken
place, in part due to regulatory barriers (which are being addressed by Congress,
as discussed below) .
Cables do not reach into all low-density traffic areas (rural communities)
even in the United States, and are largely non-existent in developing countries .
In these circumstances, satellites are a useful alternative . The first
communications satellites were launched in the early 1960s, 17 primarily for
international telephony . Uses spread to television and data transmission, and,
since the 1970s, satellites have become commonplace in domestic markets as
well . Large-diameter satellite dishes have popped up in rural and suburban
backyards for the past decade for direct-to-home satellite television viewing . A
new satellite television service -- direct broadcast satellites (DBS) -- has become
available nationwide in the United States this year (DBS has been available in
Europe for several years) . This new DBS service will use much smaller
antennas (18 inches) than those with the original satellite television systems,
and can be placed on rooftops or windowsills .
Apart from television reception, satellites offer ubiquity, mobility, distance
insensitivity, and resiliency 18 for other telecommunications services, and are
expected to have an important role in the NH and GII . The next major
development in satellite communications is expected to be a variety of satellite
systems that provide paging, messaging, mobile telephone, FAX and, in one case,
two-way video, in competition with existing terrestrial services . The proposals
gaining the most media attention are companies that plan to launch
constellations of satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO) .
For a history of U .S . communications satellite developments through 1982,
see : U .S . Congress . House . Committee on Science and Technology . United
States Civilian Space Programs 1958-1978, Vol . II . Chapter 3 : Communications
Satellites (by Jane Bortnick, Congressional Research Service) . Committee Print .
Washington, U .S . Govt . Print . Off., 1983 .
DalBello, Richard. The Role of Satellites in the National Information
Infrastructure Initiative . Via Satellite, Feb . 1994 . p . 50 .
CRS- 1 0
Communications Commission (FCC) has begun issuing licenses for systems
nicknamed "Little LEOs" (data-only systems for paging and messaging services),
"Big LEOs" (that offer mobile telephone and FAX services as well), and one
dubbed a "Mega LEO" because of its magnitude (in terms of cost and number of
satellites) that would also provide two-way video ." Other companies are
proposing satellite systems using other orbits (such as geostationary orbit) .
How many of these systems actually will be built is an open question, dependent
primarily on market demand, financing, and spectrum availability .
Pilot Projects and Emerging Applications
The diversity of information services expected to capture the fancy of the
average consumer, government institutions, and business in the next few years
has received widespread media attention ." Some new services are being tested
in pilot projects now .
Interactive Links .
Many consider extensive access to interactive
technology the real promise of the Superhighway, particularly in the lucrative
entertainment market . Interactive links are being tested in pilot projects,
though many years will elapse before the Nation has widespread access to this
technology, and still more before it is available worldwide .
Among the pilot projects of interactive systems planned, underway or
completed are those by NYNEX in New York, Time Warner in Orlando, Bell
Atlantic in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D .C ., GTE in Cerritos (CA),
Viacom/AT&T in Castro Valley (CA), U .S . West in Omaha, and TCI, U.S . West,
and AT&T in Denver's suburbs . Most of these tests focus on "video-on-demand"
services that allow customers to request, through special devices on their
television sets, a showing of certain movies at any time . Often cited as the
quintessential Superhighway application, some of these pilot projects have been
'ticized for testing groups that are too small and not representative of
American society at large ." Interactive television encompasses other services,
too, such as interactive home shopping networks, televised classes, and games,
but skeptics point out that many television viewers simply do not want to
interact with anything or anyone during their viewing time -- their whole point
in turning on the set is to passively "tune out" and relax .
19 Called Teledesic, the proposal involves an investment of $9 billion and
maintaining a system of 840 satellites (plus 84 spares) in space . The largest of
the other LEO systems is the 66-satellite Iridium system, expected to cost $3 .4
For example, Fortune (July 11, 1994), Business Week (Special 1994 Bonus
Issue, The Information Revolution, Summer 1994), Congressional Quarterly
(May 14, 1994), and the U .S . Dept . of Commerce report cited earlier (Putting the
Information Infrastructure to Work) .
Cauley, Leslie . Interactive Trials are Trials Indeed -- Tough to Start and
Tough to Judge . Wall Street Journal, May 18, 1994 . p . B1, B3 .
Other pilot projects are
the public service realm rather than
entertainment . These include telemedicine in which medical data can be
transmitted among physicians in various locations and patients can talk with
doctors hundreds or thousands of miles away . Projects have been underway
since 1986 with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and clinics in
Jacksonville, Florida and Scottsdale, Arizona for providing consultation services .
Several other States, including Texas, West Virginia, and Georgia, also have
initiated two-way video telemedicine projects .
North Carolina, using
telemedicine to treat prisoners at Central Prison in Raleigh, since 1990, has
saved $211,000 on logistical costs for treatment while spending $100,000 on the
network ." Telemedicine is not restricted to the United States, either . The
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) created a "Spacebridge"
to Armenia following the earthquake there in 1988 to provide interactive
medical consultations via satellite, and currently links several U .S. medical
centers with a hospital in Moscow .
Other health care uses of the Superhighway include cost-efficient handling
of patient records and other administrative tasks . Kaiser Permanents Health
Plan has established teleconferencing links among 15 of its medical centers in
northern California (for telemedicine, training and staff meetings), reportedly
saving $1 .5 million a year in operating costs2 3
Telephones, PCS, and Home Appliances . Cellular telephones and
pagers already are commonplace accessories, but today these services are
available primarily in analog form . Soon, digital versions using satellite
systems, terrestrial networks, or both are expected to be widely available .
Quality will improve along with capacity. One constraint on the development
of these so-called Personal Communication Services (PCS) is spectrum
availability. The FCC began auctioning radio frequencies to companies
interested in providing digital PCS in 1994 24
The newest trend in portable telecommunications accessories is the
Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) . Though the exact form that PDAs ultimately
will take is still evolving, at a minimum they combine a notepad, FAX machine,
22 The States Swing into I-Way Construction . Business Week, Aug . 22, 1994 .
23 See : U.S. Library of Congress . Congressional Research Service . Health
Care Reform and the National Information Infrastructure . CRS Report 94-770
SPR, by Stephen Gould. Washington, Sept . 21, 1994. p . 8 .
24 When it first came into usage, PCS referred to any telecommunications
service provided directly to individuals via small, portable handsets, like cellular
telephony. More recently, it has come to mean new, digital technologies for
these purposes, as opposed to the existing analog versions . For more on PCS,
see: U .S. Library of Congress . Congressional Research Service . Auctions of
PCS Frequencies . CRS Report 94-444 SPR, by Richard Nunno . Washington,
May 20, 1994 .
and rolodex. PDAs already have hit the market (including one that allows the
user to handwrite a note on the screen which is then translated into binary bits
and faxed or stored), but with mixed success so far . One problem, for example,
is that the unit that translates handwriting into binary bits takes a bit too long
for most users .
As telephone and cable television services merge, so may the appliances to
utilize them . Single units that act as compact disc players, television sets, FAX
machines, telephones and answering machines already are being offered by some
of the leading computer companies ." The time also may be near when
telephone numbers will be assigned to a person rather than a place (like a home
or office). MCI and Alltell Mobile Communications (in Charlotte, N.C.) and Bell
Atlantic Mobile (in Pittsburgh) already are conducting one-number "anytime,
anywhere" tests using cellular phones .
What More is Needed
The applications described above barely scratch the surface of what many
believe is the full potential of the Superhighway . Achieving it will require time,
money, and a lot of work on the part of industry and government . In exploring
what it will take to make the NII reality, the IITF commented that :
There is no ineluctable force pulling these advanced applications
of the NII into being. Nor can the simple statement of desirable
future characteristics of the NII make it so . Success in each
applications arena requires the identification of intermediate goals and
objectives and the successful negotiation of outcomes involving a
multitude of different parties . Only conscious, willful, and well
informed public decisions will result in an NII that meets America's
needs . 26
Major investments in technology and infrastructure will be needed to build
both the NII and GII, as well as the programming, information, and services to
be carried . As a portent of how much money is involved, six companies
(Ameritech, Bell Atlantic, MCI, Pacific Telesis, SNET, and Time Warner) say
they will spend a total of $107 billion to "wire" America with fiber optic cables,
only a small piece of the Superhighway pie . 7
Sugawara, Sandra . Enter the "Digital Chameleons ." Washington Post,
Oct. 5, 1994 . p. Fl . 2 .
U.S. Dept. of Commerce, op . cit ., p . 5.
27 Keller, John J . They'll Spend Lots But Lots Less Than They Say. Wall
Street Journal, May 18, 1994 . p . Bl, B5 . Ameritech, Bell Atlantic, and Pacific
Telesis are three of the seven Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs, or
Baby Bells) created after the court-ordered break-up of AT&T . The other four
are NYNEX, BellSouth, SBC Corporation (formerly Southwestern Bell Corp .),
and U S West .
CRS- 1 3
Satellite systems are often viewed as the answer to enabling countries
without established telecommunications systems to be part of the GII . The
companies proposing LEO and other satellite systems are optimistic that
connecting all the countries in the world will be a profitable endeavor despite
the billions of dollars needed to create the satellite networks . In June 1994, it
was announced that the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and
Development (OECD) would begin work on creating an international high-speed
communications network ." The G-7 countries (plus Russia) also discussed the
GII at the July 1994 summit in Naples and agreed to convene a conference in
February 1995 to develop plans for creating it . At an ITU-sponsored meeting
in Kyoto, Japan in September 1994, developing countries complained that they
were being excluded from the Superhighway and that their primary need now
is just for local communications within their countries . 29
Software advances undoubtedly will be needed, particularly for navigating
the Superhighway . A frequent complaint about Internet is that although there
is a flood of information available, finding it can be exasperating and ultimately
fruitless . Software tools like MOSAIC are available, but even they have their
limitations . As interactive networks become widespread, the need for efficient
navigation tools will rise in importance .
But the real hurdle is getting everyone connected . More capacity is needed
already . Fundamentally, it is a matter of putting the physical infrastructure in
place and the investment dollars and number of years required . How fast the
Superhighway develops will depend primarily on consumer demand for the
services it can offer, and hence the profit potential anticipated by the companies
that will build it . If killer applications materialize and drive demand up steeply,
the Superhighway will be here sooner rather than later ; if consumers recoil from
the prospect of having to surf through 500 or more television channels to find
something to watch, or really don't mind stopping by the video rental store
while out running errands, this may take longer than proponents expect .
"Killer Apps ." Superhighway promoters are looking for applications that
will convincingly demonstrate why these investments are worthwhile -- called
"killer applications" or simply "killer apps ." Video-on-demand, discussed earlier,
is an oft-cited example of a killer app . Home shopping is another . Though
available today, in the interactive future, consumers would not have to pick up
the telephone and call an 800-number to order merchandise, but simply "click"
on the item on the screen with a pointing device (like a computer mouse) and
order the item automatically. Some on-line computer services offer such home
shopping already, with mixed success .
28 Mainichi Shimbum (Japan), 27 June 94 . Translated and printed in
Foreign Broadcast Information Service Daily Report (East Asia), 29 June 1994,
p . 6-7 .
29 Williams, Brian . Bumps Appear on Information Highway . Reuters, Sept .
22, 1994 . 07 :22 AET .
Keys to the success of these killer apps will be their cost and how easy they
are to utilize . Consumers who complain that they cannot program their VCRs
may not be willing to invest the time and patience to learn complicated
procedures, even if it means being able to watch Casablanca or Terminator II
on a moment's notice . Cost will be another factor . Complaints about cable
television rates caused the FCC to roll back rates twice, in late 1993 and early
1994 . Today's bills may pale in comparison to what homes will have to pay to
drive on the Superhighway .3Q Another ingredient is whether people actually
want these services . Shopping is as much a social activity as a means to an end,
for example, and home shopping simply may not be a satisfactory substitute to
a large segment of consumers .
Education and Public Service Applications . Entertainment and
personal services may be the killer apps that get consumers onto the
Superhighway in the first place, but public service applications are equally
important . Some, such as telemedicine, already have been discussed . Others
include increasing the public's role in political decision-making through
electronic "town hall" meetings over the Superhighway with interactive links
allowing voters to participate from home as though they were present at the
meeting itself .
Education is often cited as a major beneficiary of the I-way . Vice President
Gore has called for all schools in America to be linked to the I-way by the year
2000 . While a laudable goal, it raises many issues, chiefly the question of who
will pay to connect the schools, purchase the computers and other equipment,
and train school personnel on how to use it . Federal and State initiatives
already have begun to bring schools into the Superhighway era . The Iowa
Communications Network has 2,600 miles of fiber optic cable linking 15 regional
centers, three regent universities, and Iowa Public Television . In Ohio, the Ohio
Educational Computer Network is developing K-12 links, while the Ohio
Academic Resources Network links colleges and universities . But these
examples only serve to demonstrate how far there is to go in reaching all schools
in America .
Private Sector and Government Roles . The private sector and the
Government both have roles to play in creating the Superhighway . The private
sector already has created much of the highway that exists today and has a
critical role in the evolution of the NIL
Reports from the Council on
Competitiveness and the Information Technology Association of America
(ITAA) 31 outline the private sector's view . ITAA, for example, delineates
One semi-humorous look at the costs involved in a unified telecom system
put the total monthly bill for the average consumer at $86 (Schrage, Michael .
For Whom the Data Highway Tolls . Washington Post, Apr . 8, 1994. p . D3) .
(1) Council on Competitiveness . Vision for a 21st Century Information
Infrastructure . Washington, May 1993 . 25 p.; (2) Council on Competitiveness .
Competition Policy: Unlocking the National Information Infrastructure .
Washington, Dec . 1993. 31 p . ; and (3) Information Technology Association of
CRS- 1 5
between the Federal and private sector roles by stating that the Government
should facilitate, not duplicate, industry efforts ; industry should be responsible
for developing, planning, designing, and implementing the NII in the
marketplace ; industry should be responsible for developing standards ; the
Government should facilitate pre-competitive technology development ; the
Government should adopt industry standards ; and Government should create
a conducive legal and regulatory environment . The Government's role in
creating policy is discussed below .
Several States are moving forward in building elements of the
Superhighway within their borders . They are confronting the same issues as
the Federal Government as to how to stimulate the private sector to install
An analysis by Congressional Quarterly"
Superhighway infrastructure .
contrasts the approaches of two States, North Carolina and California, as two
different models of bringing the Superhighway to fruition . The North Carolina
government "favors public institutions," offering itself as a major customer for
the telephone companies to spur them to invest in Superhighway infrastructure .
The State wants the telephone companies to establish interactive video and
computer links to schools, libraries, medical facilities and other public
institutions . The telephone companies will create the infrastructure and the
State will pay to use it . California "favors commercial interests," focusing on
reducing regulatory barriers to encourage the private sector to build the
infrastructure, with consumers as the customer for services such as home
shopping and video-on-demand . Under either model, eventually all users would
have access to the same services, the question is which uses (public service or
commercial) would be available first . This is important in terms of whether
profits earned by telephone companies from State-regulated local phone service
should be used to finance infrastructure that would be used for profit-making
activities such as video-on-demand, or whether the phone companies and their
shareholders should have to finance these for-profit ventures .
One aspect of private sector involvement is creating business relationships
that take advantage of the opportunities presented by the arrival of the
Superhighway era . Over the past year, many proposed and planned mergers of
business and entertainment companies have made headlines, though several of
the highest profile subsequently fell apart . The tempestuous nature of business
mergers and acquisitions makes forecasting alliances fraught with risk, but
despite the demise of deals like Bell Atlantic-TCI and CBS-QVC, many alliances
America . National Information Infrastructure : Industry and Government Roles .
Arlington, VA, July 1993 . 23 p .
Contrasting Models : Two States Blaze Trails on High-Tech Frontier .
52, May 14, 1994 .
Congressional Quarterly : The Information Arena,
Supplement to No . 19 . p . 19-22 .
CRS- 1 6
have been forgeds 3 and others are expected . Some companies are moving ahead
on their own . MCI, one of the long-distance telephone companies, not only has
announced plans to offer local telephone service, but also plans to provide access
to Internet for consumers and businesses, including e-mail, home shopping and
other electronic services . Microsoft, a leading software manufacturer, plans to
enter the on-line computer network business in mid-1995, competing with
companies like CompuServe, Prodigy and America On-Line, and offering an
array of Microsoft services in addition to traditional on-line services such as email, games, and news .
How businesses do business, how workers work, how people use their
leisure time, and how elected leaders govern are all likely to be affected by the
emergence of the Superhighway . Just as automobiles changed American society,
so may the new telecommunications paradigm . Telecommuting is practiced by
relatively few people today, but as more homes and offices are linked by the
Superhighway in the future, it may become as common as hour-long commutes
are today . Resulting changes in work patterns and family routines (such as
child care) could have profound effects . Some wonder whether Superhighway
town meetings will change the way representative democracy is practiced,
bringing the "voice of the people" directly into the decision-making process and,
some would argue, reducing the need for elected representatives .
There are negative aspects of all this access to information and each other,
too . One is the "Infobog," where people are so overwhelmed by information and
e-mail messages that they lose their productivity ."
When workers and
managers spend hours a day answering hundreds of e-mail messages,
productivity can be seriously impacted . The prospect of never being away from
the telephone because numbers are assigned to people rather than places can be
a benefit in business, but an intrusion during personal time .
Striking a balance between using these new capabilities to make life easier
rather than more difficult will be as much a part of Superhighway evolution as
the technology and policy that enables it .
ISSUES FOR CONGRESSIONAL CONSIDERATION
Attaining the full vision of the Superhighway will be a lengthy and
expensive proposition that involves many policy questions . Congress already is
33 A 5-page list of "alliances, business agreements and shared financial
interests" of companies involved in the interactive television/interactive services
industry was published by Digital Media in its June 23, 1994 issue .
Tetzeli, Rick . Surviving Information Overload .
Fortune, July 11, 1994 .
CRS- 1 7
debating a number of the policies needed to bring the Superhighway to fruition ;
the major issues are discussed below . (For information on particular bills and
their legislative status, consult the CRS issue briefs listed in the appendix .)
Creating a regulatory environment that permits the 1\111 to evolve to its
fullest potential is a key aspect of White House and congressional efforts today .
Since the 1930s, Congress has enacted legislation that treats the cable, broadcast
and telephone industries separately . The advent of new technologies has
blurred the distinction among these services, however . With technology
outstripping the regulatory environment, Congress, the Administration,
communications companies, and public interest groups have been working to
develop legislation to supersede the "MFJ" restrictions (the 1982 Modified Final
Judgment consent decree that implements the court-ordered break-up of AT&T)
and revise the Communications Act of 1934 . During 1994, the House passed
legislation (H.R. 3626, incorporating another bill, H .R . 3636) to eliminate
regulatory barriers between cable and telephone companies (called "cable/telco
cross-ownership") and remove MFJ restrictions, among other things . The Senate
did not pass its bill, S . 1822, though it was reported from the Senate Commerce,
Science and Transportation Committee (S . Rept 103-367) . The bills would have
allowed each industry to provide similar services, and end business restrictions
on the Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs) . Many other issues were
addressed, too, such as establishing goals for serving the public interest (such
as linking schools and libraries to the I-way) and establishing preferential rates
for public institutions, but the bills did not provide Federal funding to achieve
such goals . Among the issues that stymied the legislation was concern by State
and local governments that the bills shifted responsibility for and authority over
cable and telephone issues from them to the Federal Government .
Universal Access and Open Access : Avoiding "Haves and Have-Nots"
One principle emphasized by the White House and Congress is "universal
access" -- allowing everyone access to the Superhighway at affordable rates
regardless of income, disability, or location . The 1934 Communications Act has
been interpreted to require telephone companies to provide a dialtone to
everyone at affordable rates . The question of whether the same concept should
apply to video services 36 and other advanced telecommunications services is a
matter of considerable debate .
More broadly, emphasis is being placed on ensuring that schools, libraries,
hospitals, and clinics have access to the Superhighway by the year 2000 . The
Government has established a matching grants program administered by the
National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to
se For a discussion of video dialtone issues, see U .S . Library of Congress .
Congressional Research Service . Telecommunications Policy Reform : The
Telephone/Cable Crossownership Debate, by Angele Gilroy . CRS Issue Brief
94021 . Updated regularly .
CRS- 1 8
connect public institutions to advanced networks such as the Internet, but
advocates strong private sector commitment to this goal . Bell Atlantic has
agreed to provide access for 26,000 schools, but left unanswered is the question
of who will pay for other equipment and training needed by the schools to use
the Superhighway .
Making these digital resources available to all communities and ensuring
that this does not become a Nation of information "haves" and "have-nots" is a
major concern. Rural communities are especially worried that they will be left
out, or the cost will be too high for them to take advantage of new services .
Even accessing Internet can be expensive for customers who must make a long
distance call to reach the nearest local access point3 6 Several States are
leading the way in establishing information infrastructures, but Maryland is the
first to offer "free" access to Internet, except for the price of a local phone call,
for all residents (services such as e-mail would incur charges, however) .' ?
Start-up funding came from the Federal Government (as has funding for
initiatives in other States), but the project will have to be supported from State
funds beginning in 1995 . Whether other States will follow suit, and whether
taxpayers will be amenable to continuing support for such efforts, remains to be
Another issue is "open access ." Today, the issue is one of requiring local
telephone companies to interconnect their networks with the facilities of
competing providers on a nondiscriminatory basis . The House and Senate
addressed this topic in the legislation on cable/telco cross-ownership considered
in the 103d Congress (H .R . 3626 and S . 1822) both in terms of requiring local
telephone companies to allow access to any telecommunications provider, and
providing preferential rates to enhance access for certain types of users such as
educational institutions and libraries ; the legislation did not clear Congress,
In a much broader context, the National Research Council's Computer
Science and Telecommunications Board expands the "open" concept to what it
calls the "Open Data Network" -- open to users, open to service providers, open
to network providers, and open to change . 38 Noting that the success of
Internet is directly tied to its openness, the Board argues that the NII should
build on that experience and calls on the Government to embrace the Open Data
Chandrasekaran, Rajiv . On-Line Highway A Costly Toll Road for Rural
Users . Washington Post, Nov. 7, 1994 . p . Al, 14 .
37 Powledge, Tabitha . Information Highway Without Tollbooths : Maryland
is First State to offer Free Access to Internode . Washington Post, June 23,
1994 . p . A 1, 11 .
National Academy of Sciences . National Research Council .
Computer Science and Telecommunications Board . Realizing the Information
Future . Washington, National Academy Press, 1994 . 285 p .
CRS- 1 9
Network architecture as the technical framework for designing and deploying
Setting technical standards for telecommunications systems to ensure that
all the pieces can work together, and that U .S . products can compete globally,
is another important issue . Typically the private sector sets such standards
itself, not the Government . For example, standards for Internet were set by the
Internet Standards Group, a voluntary effort run by the Internet Society .
In July 1994, 1,300 companies, including AT&T, IBM, and Eastman Kodak,
formed the Information Infrastructure Standards Panel to review work
underway on NII standards by professional societies and trade organizations
that belong to the American National Standards Institute . Many see the
Government's role as facilitating coordination among standards organizations,
industry, and the Government so that voluntary standards can be utilized
efficiently, and to ensure U .S . representation on regional and global standardssetting groups to ensure that foreign standards are not used to exclude U .S .made products from global markets .
Privacy and Security
Ensuring that confidential information (such as medical records or business
data) traversing the Superhighway remains confidential, and that data on the
viewing habits or buying practices of subscribers are not misused are clearly of
tremendous importance to network users . The ability to link hospitals, banks,
insurance companies and government agencies can provide great benefits, but
also creates the technical capability for unprecedented intrusions into personal
and corporate lives .
Ensuring the security of the system from unauthorized use is also a
significant concern, 39 especially when coupled with the need to provide for the
legitimate requirements of law enforcement officials to be able to detect criminal
activity on the network versus privacy concerns of users . The U .S . Government
wants to equip many of its telephones with a special computer chip designed by
the National Security Agency, called the "Clipper chip ."" The Clipper chip
would enable law enforcement agencies to decode any communications over
these lines . The Administration insists that the requirement to use two
simultaneous keys, held by different Government agencies, would prevent abuse
of this capability, but the computer industry and privacy advocates argue
strongly against it . In August 1994, the White House signaled flexibility on this
issue in a letter to Representative Maria Cantwell (D-Wash), though
Wallich, Paul . Wire Pirates . Scientific American, Mar . 1994 . p . 90-105 .
See : U .S . Library of Congress . Congressional Research Service . The
Clipper Chip Encryption System . CRS Report 94-298 SPR, by Stephen Gould .
Washington, Apr . 6, 1994 . 6 p .
interpretations of the letter vary. The Government's goal, to assure that
criminals cannot use the Superhighway to their advantage, remains ; the
problem is how to accomplish it without trampling on individual rights or
stifling commercial interests . "Digital wiretap" legislation requiring carriers to
engineer networks so they are wiretap-ready and setting rules and privacy
guidelines for the electronic surveillance of networks by law enforcement
agencies was passed by Congress in October 1994 (P .L . 103-414) .
Intellectual Property Rights
Protecting intellectual property rights will be a challenge in an age of easily
accessible digitized information . Calls for strengthening copyright laws and
ensuring that the technical architecture of the Superhighway protects copyright
owners and provides for their remuneration already have been heard . Libraries,
scholars, and the public also have voiced concern that some form of "fair use" be
established for digital materials . For video-on-demand, for example, residuals
may have to be paid to those involved in the original making of the films . But
as individual users and corporate lawyers are discovering, this is *a murky legal
area . Writers or actors who have assigned publishing or movie rights, may -- or
may not -- have also assigned multimedia rights . Importing a scene from a
television program or part of the score to a movie into a multimedia
presentation for a business conference may be a violation of copyright laws, or
may be a permissible "fair use ." 41 The IITF Working Group on Intellectual
Property Rights released a preliminary report concluding that only minor
changes to the copyright laws are needed in July 1994,4 2 but that conclusion
is controversial . Public comments have been solicited, and a final report is
scheduled to be released in January 1995 .
Federal Role in Applications and Research and Development
The private sector, rather than Government, undoubtedly will spearhead
most applications of the Superhighway, though the Government has a role in
developing and supporting public service applications, such as those for schools
and libraries, as well as research and development on information technologies
The High Performance Computing Act of 1991 (P .L . 102-194) established
the High Performance Computing and Communications (HPCC) program "to
extend U .S . leadership in high performance computing and communications,
disseminate the technology to speed innovation, and promote its use in
See, for example : Osteen, Kathleen . Rights Face Fuzzy Future . Variety,
Mar . 28-Apr . 3, 1994 . p . 1, 83 ; and Steinberg, Don . Hey! We're Being Sued for
Copyright Infringement . Infoworld, Mar . 14, 1994 . p . 54 .
DTII Panel Recommends Minor
Communications Daily, July 7, 1994 . p . 4 .
industry ."" The original 5-year budget plan allocated $4 .67 billion through FY
1996 to seven Federal agencies . (The program does not have its own budget, but
rather projects are supported through programs in the various agencies) . The
103d Congress debated legislation (H.R . 1757 and H .R. 820) to amend the Act
to stimulate Government development (or joint Government-private sector
development) of applications of high-performance computing and networking
technologies and reallocate some of the funding for supporting applications .
Neither bill cleared Congress, however . The issue of how much Federal funding
should be spent on the HPCC initiative is expected to be controversial in the
104th Congress since the "Contract with America" would reduce spending for the
HPCC by $1 .23 billion over 5 years .
Regarding public service applications of the I-way, one question that
remains to be answered is who will pay to digitize the vast collections of text,
photographs and other media that are not currently in digital form so that they
are, in fact, accessible over the Superhighway .' As already noted, who will
pay for the equipment and training needed by schools is another unanswered
y years before the Information Superhighway exists in its
It will b
broadest definition, but many of the building blocks are here already . While
attention in Congress is focussed today primarily on regulatory issues, once
those are resolved others, such as intellectual property rights, may become more
visible . As the years pass and the Superhighway reaches maturity, consumers,
government institutions, and businesses will shape, and be shaped by, this new
information revolution .
U .S . Library of Congress . Congressional Research Service . The National
Information Infrastructure : The Federal Role, by Virginia Huth and Stephen
Gould . CRS Issue Brief 93101 . Washington, Oct . 14, 1994 . p . 3 .
For a discussion of the public policy issues involved in making digital
information available, see : U .S . Library of Congress . Delivering Electronic
Summary of Conference
Information in a Knowledge-Based Democracy .
Proceedings, July 14, 1993 . Washington, 1993 . 17 p .
RELATED CRS PRODUCTS
Cable TV . IP104C . Contains general articles plus the items below preceded by
The Information Superhighway and the Internet . IP 4901. Contains general
articles plus the items below preceded by 4 .
Telephone Industry Issues . IP 257T. Contains general articles plus the items
below preceded by
i Gilroy, Angele . Telecommunications Policy Reform : Modification of the 1982
AT&T Consent Decree . CRS Issue Brief IB94034 (Updated Regularly)
* Gilroy, Angele . Telecommunications Policy Reform : The Telephone
Cable/Crossownership Debate . CRS Issue Brief IB94021 (Updated Regularly)
• Huth, Virginia and Stephen Gould. The National Information Infrastructure :
The Federal Role . CRS Issue Brief IB93101 . Updated Regularly .
Stedman, James B . and Stephen Gould. Information Technologies in
Elementary and Secondary Education: Background and Federal Policy Issues .
CRS Issue Brief IB93071 . Updated regularly .
Gilroy, Angele . The American Telephone and Telegraph Company Divestiture :
Background, Provisions, and Restructuring . CRS Report 94-510 E . Updated
June 20, 1994 . 32 p.
Gilroy, Angele . Bell Operating Company Entrance into the Alarm Industry .
CRS Report 94-451 E . May 24, 1994. 5 p .
* Gilroy, Angele . Cable Television Industry : A Brief Overview . CRS Report 92326E . April 1, 1992 . 6 p.
Gilroy, Angele . Telecommunications : Pioneer's Preference and Broadband PCS .
CRS Report 94-873 E . November 16, 1994 . 6 p .
Gilroy, Angele . Telephone/Cable Crossownership : A Time for Reassessment?
CRS Report 93-658 E . June 25, 1993. 29 p .
Gilroy, Angele . Telephone/Cable Crossownership :
Report 93-674 E . July 23, 1993 . 6 p .
An Issue Overview .
• Griffith, Jane Bortnick and Marcia S . Smith . The Information Superhighway
and the National Information Infrastructure (NII) . CRS Report 94-112 SPR .
Updated March 22, 1994 . 6 p .
Gould, Stephen . The Clipper Chip Encryption System .
SPR . April 6, 1994 . 6 p .
CRS Report 94-298
Gould, Stephen . Computer Security Enhancement to Prevent Disasters and
Crimes . CRS Report 91-239 SPR . Revised November 21, 1991 . 6 p .
Gould, Stephen .
Health Care Reform and the National Information
Infrastructure . CRS Report 94-770 SPR . September 21, 1994 . 17 p .
Gould, Stephen . U .S . Telecommunications Infrastructure :
Evolution . CRS Rept . 93-161 SPR . Feb . 3, 1993 . 8 p .
Hack, David . Cable Television--and Eight Other Contributors to Competition
in Multichannel TV Service . CRS Report . 92-785 SPR. November 3, 1992 . 44 p .
Hack, David . Telephone Companies--and Six Other Contributors to Competition
in Local Telephone Services . CRS Rept . 93-234 SPR . Feb . 18, 1993 . 24 p .
Nunno, Richard M . Auctions of PCS Radio Frequencies . CRS Report 94-444
SPR. May 20, 1994 . 13 p .
Reyes-Akinbileje, Bernice, Julian Owens, and Stephen Gould . Prospects for a
National Health Care Information Infrastructure . CRS Report 93-917 SPR . Oct .
18, 1993 . 23 p .
* Riehl, James R . Cable Television Industry : The Top 25 Cable Multiple System
Operators . CRS Report 94-285C . March 28, 1994 . 11 p .
• Riehl, James R . The Information Superhighway: An Annotated Glossary .
CRS Report 94-468 C . June 2, 1994 . 6 p .
• Tehan, Rita . Welcome to Cyberia : An Internet Guide . CRS Report 94-471 C .
May 12, 1994 . 9 p .
* in Info Pack 104C ;
• In Info Pack 4901 ;
Info Pack 257T