The vBNS (very high-speed Backbone Network Services) network was initially funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to connect the five national super-computer facilities. In 1996, the NSF expanded the connection opportunities through the Connections to the Internet Program. Twenty-four institutions were awarded connections in the first release, and another 40 institutions were awarded connections in May of 1997. Georgia State was awarded its $350,000 grant at t his time. The goal of the Connections to the Internet program is to award 100 connections to research institutions to provide high-speed end-to-end network connectivity in the conduct of meritorious research.
Georgia State joined with Georgia Tech in the fall of 1996 to develop a proposal for the Connections to the Internet Program. Faculty research involvement was solicited on both campuses to identify meritorious applicatio ns with the need to access the high-speed, low-latency network. The proposal was submitted to the NSF at the end of January, 1997. On May 15, 1997, Vice-President Al Gore announced the program awards to institutions of higher learning, including one to Georgia State University.
In early summer of 1997, building on a previous Connections award to Georgia Tech, which included Georgia State researchers, and utilizing fiber that was in place to Georgia State's dormitories at the Olympic Village, a 6 22Mb/s network connection was activated to Georgia Tech. This link forms the first leg to Georgia State's connectivity to the vBNS network.
In August of 1997, an Invitation to Bid was released to network service providers to receive proposals on providing a 155Mb/s fiber link from Georgia Tech's Network Operations Center to the vBNS Point of Presence (POP) in Douglasville, Georgia. In September, the bid was awarded to MediaOne.
It is anticipated that initial activation of the link to the vBNS will occur in October of 1997, with early production availability in January of 1998.