Internet Society News, V1, N1, 1992

Latin American and Caribbean

By Daniel Pimienta

For the first edition, we offer a brief perspective of the region network developments since the origins, and some forecasted trends.

I FIRST STAGE DEVELOPMENT: BEFORE 1988

Three distinct directions:

  1. Bottom-up: some BITNET nodes based on mainframes or minis in Mexico, Chile and Brazil.
  2. Bottom-up: some USENET distributed nodes based on PCs, principally in Argentina.
  3. Top-down: a project in Venezuela, under the National Science and Technology Research Council leadership, targeting a global national solution.

II SECOND STAGE DEVELOPMENT: FROM 1988 UNTIL 1991

-consolidation of existing networks in the first countries. -significant relative growth of USENET solutions, both in terms of user's figures, and of start-up solution for new countries. -introduction of International Organizations in the playground as contributors to the current or projected developments: (UNDP, BID, EEC, UNESCO, OAS, PAHO, UNION LATINA,...).

CURRENT SITUATION (END OF 1991)

PER PERCENTAGE OF USERS USING THE NETWORK:

MORE THAN 40%: COSTA RICA, MEXICO, PUERTO RICO MORE THAN 25%: ARGENTINA, CHILE
MORE THAN 10%: BRASIL, VENEZUELA LESS THAN 10%: ALL REMAINING COUNTRIES.

-Most countries will have at least a few network users. -An estimation of 20,000 network users for the whole region, which represents some 10% coverage of the total estimated potential user population;
-More than 80% of the international outgoing links of the Region goes to the USA.
-USENET user's figure growths faster than BITNET's. INTERNET nodes start to appear.
-Some regional or sub regional projects are under planning or implementation stage (REDALC, HURACAN, CUNET, SCARNET).

EMERGING OF NEW TRENDS

-Growing consciousness of the need for integration between the countries: the First Interamerican Networking Workshop held in Rio de Janeiro in October 1991 allowed a high percentage ofthe region networkers representatives (more than 100 people from national, regional or international initiatives) to meet and start the first exchanges toward regional integration. A Regional Committee was elected. -Creation of national associations involving all the players (universities, NGO's linked to research, Science and Technology Councils, States Departments linked to research). REDMEX of Mexico is the first "success story" and Red Cientifica Peruana is the first attempt to start from scratch with that model. -Start of the integration of industrial research domains within the networks.
-Negotiation with Telecommunication Authorities as a way to get tariff advantages and participate to the development of national X25 networks (Bolivia, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Peru, Venezuela).
-Regionalization of the international link topology as a step toward a regional backbone.

III NEXT STAGE FORECAST 1992-1995

It is expected to reach a level of users connected of the order of magnitude of 100,000 and to see the maturation of the identified trends:

-Generalization of the associative model for user administration. -Rationalization of the international links and the gateway accesses.
-Generalization of the special tariff pattern for national X25 usage.
-Emergence of new original tariffs schemes were billing additional services allow some level of autofinancing. -Consolidation of the organizational entity representing the networkers of the Region (something "a la RARE" especially adapted to the Regional particularities). -Generalization of the TCP-IP protocol, at least for the international links.
-More involvement of Science and Technology Councils and, as a consequence, a more controlled/planned network growth at national and regional levels.
-Emergence of a regional backbone, probably based on satellite technology, with substancial international fundings.

EMERGING OF NEW TRENDS

-Important shift toward the end-user (workstations, interfaces, applications and support).
-Integration of the transport network with information networks and scientifical data bases (the Region have already good provision of them, as a result of national and international politics).
-Skill merging between the "telematics" and the "documentalists", as a result of market need and specific education plans. -First large scale implementation based on the OSI model application layers (X400, X500, FTAM...).


By Daniel Pimienta,
Cientifical Advisor,
REDALC Project Director,
Union Latina
PO BOX 2482
Santo Domingo,
Dominican Republic.