"RELARN" Project: Support of Telecommunications in the Interests of Research and Education

Alexey Platonov
Director Russian Institute for Public Networks (RosNIIROS)
E-mail: plat@kiae.su

The "RELARN" project started in the second half of 1992 with the Joint Decision of the Russian Ministry of Science and Technology, the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Russian Research Center "Kurchatov Institute". Later that year the Higher School Committee granted about $30,000 for support of telecommunications for Research and Education (R&E). In fact, this was the first time when the Internet technology in xUSSR got some support from the state official institutions.

In September of 1992 the Association "RELARN" has been founded, at first informally (officialy registrated in 1993, May). At the second half of 1994 it included more than 580 members - research centers, Universities, higher school institutions, governmental and public organizations, etc. The main aim of Association "RELARN" was declared as to promote the development of telecommunications for R&E in the form of coordination of activities of individual organizations and to formulate the corresponding proposals to be submitted to Ministries, Foundations and other financing bodies.

Another item of the "RELARN" project is the realization of the certain purposeful programs, which can be classified as follows:

The experience of the activities within the "RELARN" project shows the following characteristic features of the development of telecommunications for R&E in Russia:

It is practically impossible to create global academic network due to the present economical situation and inadequate financial support from the budget.

The most efficient way to provide telecommunication service to the wide community of R&E customers is to use so-called "public" networks which are characterized by the self-sustaining features due to indirect investments.

  1. It is quite important for the state institutions to develop the key segments of the IP backbone to keep the control over the situation on the telecommunication market.
  2. The "classical" academic networks will in any case be the important component of the Russian Internet in the sector of international and the special purpose-oriented projects.

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