NAP History (was RE: The large ISPs and Peering)

steve wolff swolff at
Thu Jul 26 17:49:32 UTC 2001

With the impending closure of the NSFNET Backbone, and the distfribution of 
those funds to (academic) regional networks for the purpose of buying 
backbone service from ISPs on the open market, NSF feared that universal 
connectivity within the US higher education community might be lost - if all 
ISPs concerned did not peer with one another.

Accordingly, NSF established the NAPs as open exchange points, and the funds 
distributed to regional networks to buy backbone service had a string 
attached:  the regionals could only buy from ISPs who agreed to come to one 
or more NAPs and exchange higher ed traffic.  Thus the universal connectivity 
of the community NSF was charged to serve was aassured.

NSF never intended the NAPs to be the ONLY peering/exchange points, and never 
contemplated a 'stamp of approval' (or disapproval, for that matter) for 
anybody else's exchange point; the NAPs were inclusive, not exclusive.


On Thursday 26 July 2001 13:07, Robert E. Seastrom wrote:
> "Nipper, Arnold" <arnold at> writes:
> > Sean Donelan schrieb:
> > > exchange points.  Some of the additional exchange points have grown
> > > very large, such as CIX, MAE-West, LINX, AMS-IX, even though they
> > > didn't have NSF's "stamp of approval."
> >
> > Why should LINX, AMS-IX, DE-CIX or any other European IXP need NSF's
> > "stamp of approval"?
> At the time, the "center of the universe" was AS690, which was paid
> for by US taxpayer money and consequently had an AUP.  The NAPs were
> envisioned as a transitional mechanism away from that arrangement.  A
> lot of us at the time wondered aloud why NSF needed to provide a stamp
> of approval on US-based exchange points, as the FIXes, MAE East, and
> Milo's setup at NASA-Ames were already going concerns without any kind
> of endorsement from the NSF.  Some companies (notably UUnet) thought
> this was gratuitous enough that they never showed up at any NAPs.
>                                         ---Rob

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