Universities and research institutes routinely need to swap huge amounts of information. Many of them have relied on two non-profit Internet networks, Internet2 and National LambdaRail, to supply them with the dedicated superfast network connections they require. Talks aimed at merging the two have been sporadically attempted. The latest round of negotiations has fallen apart again, and it appears the idea is dead now. What would non-profits who serve essentially the same users with the same service fight about, anyway? Money.
Talks resumed this year, and a committee with top leaders from each network worked out a compromise in August.
Internet2's board approved it, despite misgivings by some of its board members, but LambdaRail's board sought more concessions. And last week, both sides called it quits.
"A lot of us are disappointed," said Internet2's Lehman, a member of the merger committee. "We knew it was a challenge, and we were hopeful that we would find a way to get to the end this time."
Many LambdaRail participants felt they had invested in the system and wanted greater returns, Lehman said. He said Internet2 offered as much financial benefits as it could.
You know what they say about arguments in the educational community. They're vicious because the stakes are so small.