Canada Juices Up the Internet

To see the Internet on steroids, just look at CANet3. Several Canadian companies have partnered with the federal government to build a powerful national Internet backbone. CANet3 may be the world’s fastest network once it’s completely operational in 1999.

“Frankly, we can brag about being the best in the world in something,” says Lyne Morin, communications director for the Canadian Network of Research, Industry and Education, the consortium overseeing the project.

Thanks to its fiber-optic architecture, CANet3 will be able to transmit information 1.5 million times faster than a 28.8 modem, says Canadian Minister of Industry John Manley. In comparison, the fastest known American network claims it can deliver the entire contents of the U.S. Library of Congress in one minute. Says Manley: “This is a task CANet3 could perform in one second.”

CANet3, which will replace an earlier-generation Internet backbone, is the first to completely eliminate reliance on traditional voice infrastructure.

Initially limited to researchers, it will eventually serve industry, communities and schools and will recover the 80 percent of Canada’s Internet traffic that currently flows south to the United States.

The Canadian government paid a third of the project’s $120 million cost. The rest will come from private-sector partners, including Bell Canada, Cisco Systems Canada Co., JDS Fitel Inc., Newbridge Networks Corp. and Northern Telecom Ltd. – Anne Stuart