A network of fiber optic cables, named Abilene, has already been laid from one side of the United States to the other, linking over 70 research institutions. Abilene provides a fast service to those connected, but will not be available for general use for some time to come, if ever. Similar networks are planned in other areas of the world, including Scandinavia and the Netherlands. These networks will be used to share information and as test-beds for developments in speed.
China is also involved in researching Internet 2, determined not to lag behind. The $5,000,000 government research grant to Qinghua University in Beijing has been more than matched by Li Ka-shing, a Hong Kong businessman, who has donated $10 million to the project. He sees the new research and development centre as a chance to close the technology gap between Asia and the West.
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