NSF NSFNET Budget Code:  
The purpose of the NSFNET program activity is to provide for the high performance data networking needs of the U.S. research and education community. This program activity supports operation of the worldwide Internet, and also funds enhancements to and participation in it.

More than 1,100 U.S. colleges and universities have been connected to the Internet through the NSFNET program activity, and several thousand high schools have had their connection facilitated. Libraries, medical schools, and public health facilities have also been connected. The program activity has directly stimulated the emergence of a vigorous and highly competitive private-sector industry in Internet hardware, software, and connectivity in which the U.S. is a world leader with an overwhelmingly positive balance of trade.

A new, quasi-operational very high speed network backbone service (the 'vBNS') links NSF-supported high performance computing centers, and links are being established competitively to scientific applications that demand the performance available. For less demanding, general-purpose networking needs of the community, this activity supplies funds to regional networks --most of which have their roots in regional university consortia, and, under the Connections Program, to individual academic institutions needing Internet connectivity. Together with networking programs in other Federal agencies, the NSFNET program activity participates in funding administrative functions of the Internet, and collaborates in provisioning international Internet links. The NSFNET activity also supports technical development in such areas as database access and bibliographic protocols, routing and addressing, security and privacy, and network management.
Budget ($ M)
FY 95 Act 44.18
FY 96 Pres 46.22
FY 96 Est 44.04
FY 97 Rqst 41.64
Program Component Areas
  FY 96 FY 97
LSN 44.04 41.64
Agency Ties
DARPA Partner
DOE Partner
NASA Partner
NIH Partner
NSA User
EPA User
ED User
VA User
Milestone Changes  
FY 1995 Actual Milestones FY 1996 Estimated Milestones FY 1997 Agency Requested Milestones
Completed transition to new NSFNET architecture including:

Overseeing Merit's audit of subcontract award to ANS;

Closing out Merit cooperative agreement for old NSFNET architecture.

Completed initiation of award for vBNS.

Began vBNS to NSF supercomputer centers at 155 Mb/s.

Connected vBNS to four NAPs at more than 45 Mb/s.

Issued solicitations:
  • for vBNS;
  • for connections to qualifying high-bandwidth applications; and
  • for additional International Internet Services.
Made targeted awards in the network theory initiative.

Supported connection of 50 additional institutions to the Internet.

Made two awards in vBNS Connections Program.
Continue to expand connection of qualifying scientific applications to the vBNS.

Participate with other Federal agencies and the private sector in implementing new network-layer protocol on the Internet.

Support connection of 50 additional institutions to the Internet.

Pilot deployment of emerging privacy and security tools for the Internet.
As a result of ongoing privatization, reduce support of commodity-level network services to educational institutions, and increase support of very high bandwidth services which focus on experimental applications of high bandwidth networks and international networking.

Among the applications areas targeted for emphasis are distributed high performance computing, information based learning technologies, remote visualization and imaging, and tele-collaboration.