National Lambda Rail, Internet2 to merge

It is one of those things that make you ask the question: what took you so long. Internet2 and National Lambda Rail – two next generation networks that are trying to redefine the nature of natures are finally coming together as an organization called, Internet2-National Lambda Rail (“Internet2-NLR”.)

The two organizations have a bit of a history, and have had failed discussions about the merger before.

From August 2005 to June 2006, NLR expended significant energy, time, and financial resources in merger discussions with Internet2 (an NLR founding equity member), until the Internet2 Board chair called off negotiations. In October 2006 NLR and Internet2 signed a Cessation Agreement severing Internet2’s membership responsibilities in NLR. (From NLR annual report.)

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Better late than never. The timing of the merger is perfect. Internet2’s new network with 100 Gbps capacity is going to be completed this spring. NLR which owns its own infrastructure has its entire 11,700-mile nationwide backbone fully operational.

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In an email to their respective communities, Tracy Futhey, and Jeffrey Lehman, Chairs of National LambdaRail and Internet2 respectively wrote:

Both Internet2 and NLR provide advanced networking capabilities critical to the U.S.research and education community. We believe bringing these two organizations together will enhance those capabilities needed today, and provide a solid foundation for providing capabilities required in the future.

The decision to do so was taken this weekend, and by April 20, 2007, a definitive plan for the merger is going to be presented to the boards of the two organizations. They want to complete the merger by June 29, 2007. They plan to hire a new CEO for the combined venture.