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CEGI 3.1: California Information Infrastructure Pathfinder

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This guide offers starting points for interested members of the general public to learn about the California Information Infrastructure: physical and virtual networks, strategic plans for creating infrastructure and managing information, information policy as it concerns public information and technology, and scrutiny of the above--both official review and popular criticism.

The California Information Infrastructure is broad, deep and yet nebulous. In a state with 31,878,234 people (7/1/96 estimate) and a gross product of $800 billion (in 1993), one would expect an expansive array of communications channels. But California is also the home of Silicon Valley, arguably the most important computer industry research and development community, as well as home to several of thenation's great universities. There is a lot of experimenation and change in the CII, but I couldn't find the right resource to understand the big picture. This pathfinder is organized in five sections, respresented by five of the circles in the adjacent imagemap. I have created these divisions for the sake of convenience, although the entries don't always fit neatly into their pigeonholes. C'est la vie!

  • The Networks: Physical & Virtual section points to the physical networks of Internet or telephone service providers--wires, cables, switches, routers and all--and to more nebulous networks of organizations associated for someinformation technology / telecommunications purpose. I have broken this section into levels like the CEGI list: state, regional, local, but have added sectors to the mix as well: academic, commerical and nonprofit. This may not be the best organization, but arrangement by medium or industry would be worse, since the "killer apps" keep changing, and utilities of all kinds are trying to get into each other's businesses.

  • The Strategic Plans section is for strategic visions for California information infrastructure from all sectors and levels. Not the gadgets and lifestyles (advertisements and journalism will deliver those messages) but the putative pipes, tentative towers, disorderly orbits and wavering wavelengths of 21st Century California.

  • The Information Policy section will deal with the legal and regulatory basis for the infrastructure, but also with the content of those wires and whatever. The two are intimately linked, believe it or not. Delivering medical diagnoses, online shopping and interactive games will shape the CII one way; delivering school, library and citizen-to-citizen communications services will require different structures, financing, subsidies and organization. Guess who it's all up to?

  • The size, shape, functions and intent of the CII is not a foregone conclusion, but a series of political and social debates. The Critical Voices section will attempt to connect the networks, plans and policies to the public speech of other stakeholders. Where possible, I will provide hyperlinks between sections to facilitate this exploration.

  • The Other Resources section will be a collection of links and references for background on telecommunications technologies and to other resources on infrastructure at the regional level. Let me know what you want to see here, or elsewhere.

  • This, even more than the rest of the CEGI site, is a work in progress. This is just a first draft. Check these citations and their organization--don't take my word for it quite yet. I'll always welcome your comments, but here I need your input: What do you want to see here? What am I doing right and wrong?

    One good place to start is with David Bank's The Road Ahead, a guide to the applications and companies that are shaping the state's information infrastructure. This series of newspaper articles appeared in the San Jose Mercury News December 4 - 6, 1994, and has been made into a web page in Santa Rosa.


    I. Networks: Physical & Virtual

      Yahoo has a Network Topology page; however, all the relevant links are included on this page:

    • Federal or National

      Although the focus of this pathfinder is California, information networks overlap geopolitical boundaries.

    • State or State-wide

    • Regional & Local Government & other Regional Networks

      Regional networks can include educational, government, commercial and non-profit members--that's why they get their own category. The CEGI Regional List ( points to the web pages of regional networks, many of which include units of government.

      • BAGNet [Bay Area Gigabit Testbed, disbanded 5/96;; BAGNet Map:]

      • Los Nettos [ Network Map,

    • Academic/Educational

      • C3Net ["A collaborative venture and service of the California State University and the Community Colleges of California" to internetwork the community colleges and connect them to CSUnet;]

      • CSUnet [California State University Network,]

      • GSEN [Golden State Educational Network, proposed 1992? GSEN Report:]

      • I3LA [(Monterey) Initiative for Information Infrastructure and Linking Applications,; Network Map, For a description of I3LA, see:
        Born, Roger L. (1995). Monterey initiative for information infrastructure and linking applications. Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science [Online], 21:4. Available:]

      • UCnet [University of California Network; Network Information Server (NIS):; UCnet Diagram 7/16/96:, MBONE Tunnels Within UC 10/11/96:]

    • Private Nonprofit

      • ANSnet (Advanced Network Services): [Network Map (October 1996):]

    • Commercial

      To find the web pages of lots of telecommunications companies, some of which operate in California, try the Yahoo:Business and Economy:Companies:Telecommunications page:; However, a further search for "California" on the telecom pages does not refine the search, as you only locate the Yahoo links with "California" in the description.

      It is not a simple matter to create a profile of CII-linked companies. According to the ABI database American Business Directory, available on Knight-Ridder's DIALOG, there are 77 companiesin California with the Standard Industrial Code (SIC) 737415 (INTERNET SERVICE). But, there are far more Internet Service Providers (ISPs) than that. Are there only 93 computer bulletin boards (SIC=737403) in California? Well, making a profit, maybe. Thirty-six satellite common carriers (of 299 listed, SIC=484103)? That seems like a lot, but it gets worse:

    • Of the 611 companies in the database with WIRELESS in their company name, 85 are in California.
    • Of 2,444 companies nationally with SIC=737904 (COMPUTERS NETWORKING), 472 are here somewhere!
    • Sprintnet is one of the industrial-strength ISPs with many corporations and large institutions as clients, but they don't show up as being a California company.
    • Get this: UUNET, an ISP with some history, also not in California, is classified as SIC=9999 (UNCLASSIFIED ESTABLISHMENTS), or SIC=999977 (NONCLASSIFIED ESTABLISHMENTS)--explain the difference, somebody, please. Want to know how many 9999s there arein the database? 210,194. How many belong in this list? I don't know.


    II. Strategic Plans


    III. Information Policy

    There is currently no coherent state-wide information policy. Current and prior session legislation on telecommunications can be accessed through the State Senate web page:


    IV. Critical Voices

    • State

      Bowen, Debra (1995). Budget Subcommittee #5: Background on CMIS & CALNET. [Archived email]. Available: [See CALNET, above]

      California. Dept. of Information Technology (1996). Interim annual report: reforming the State of California's use and management of information technology. Sacramento, CA: The Dept.

      California. Governor's Task Force on Government Technology Policy and Procurement (1994). Report to Governor Pete Wilson. Sacramento, CA.: Governor's Office of Planning and Research.

      California. Legislative Analyst's Office. 1995-96 Budget analysis: Department of General Services, CALNET. [Online]. Available: (Search the Legislative Analyst's Office by keywords at [See CALNET, above]

      California. Legislative Analyst's Office. 1995-96 Budget analysis: Health and Welfare Agency Data Center. [Online]. Available:; [See Kiosk, above]

      California. Legislative Analyst's Office. (1996, January 23). State information technology: An update. [Online]. Available: or;

      California. Legislative Analyst's Office. (1994, June 16). Information technology: An important tool for a more effective government. [Online]. Available:

      California. Legislature. Assembly. Comittee on Utilities and Commerce (1990). Telecommunications procurement by the state of California: The CALNET experience. Sacramento, CA: Joint Publications Office. [See CALNET, above]

      California State Auditor (1994). The Dept. of Motor Vehicles and the Office of Information Technology did not minimize the State's financial risk in the Database Redevelopment Project. Sacramento, CA: California State Auditor.

      California State Auditor (1994). The state needs to reengineer its management of information technology. Sacramento, CA.: California State Auditor, Bureau of State Audits.

      Senate Bill 1, Department of Information Technology (1995). [Online], Avaliable:[BILL.CURRENT.SB.FROM0000.SB0001]

    • Regional & Local Government

      California. Grand Jury (San Francisco) (1996). Information technology services in San Francisco government. San Francisco, CA.: Grand Jury.

      Los Angeles. Mayor's Special Advisory Committee on Technology Implementation (1995, January 26) Final Report -- January 26, 1995. [Online]. Available:
      [See Reconnecting the City with the People, above.]

    • Activists & Consumer Watchdogs

      CPSR [Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility. Home page at:]

      ConsumerNet [contact information at]

      TURN [Toward Utility Rate Normalization; contact information at:]

      UCAN [Utility Consumers' Action Network; contact information at]

      UCAN (1997, February 19). Staking out the public interest in the merger between Pacific Telesis and Southwestern Bell Corporation. A white paper prepared for the California Telecommunications Policy Forum. [Online]. Available:

    • Academics

      Burns, Pat, Sharp, Ed & Eschbach, Darel (1996). Back on track to the NII? [Online]. Available:

    • Journalists

      Gurwitt, Rob (1995). Overload. Governing, 9:1, 16-?

      Perkins, Michael (1995, October). The information highway. The Red Herring [Online], 24. Available: [use 'Find' to locate Sluggish-Brained Sloths (case-sensitive)]


    V. Other Resources

    Despite much talk about the National Information Infrastructure, the category of California Information Infrastructure has not yet gained prominence as a topic of research. A simple Altavista search on the phrase "California Information Infrastructure" Wed, Oct 16, 1996 turned up only four hits, none of which were enlightening. While this section is sure to grow, it must start very modestly.

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