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Brown Releases Report Highlighting Benefits, Barriers Of National Information Highway

Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown today released for public comment a report that focuses on ways that the National Information Infrastructure can be used to strengthen the U.S. economy and improve quality of life. As an interconnection of computer networks, telecommunications services and applications, the NII has the potential to significantly improve the way people use information in their jobs and other aspects of their daily lives.

The report, "Putting the Information Infrastructure to Work", closely looks at some of the opportunities and obstacles in seven key applications of the NII. It is designed to spur public discussion of how people and organizations use the information infrastructure.

"There's going to be a fundamental change in the way we work, the way we learn, the way we communicate. Knowing how the Industrial Revolution permanently altered American life, we can only begin to imagine how we will be transformed by becoming an information society," Brown said.

Brown, who chairs the Information Infrastructure Task Force, an Administration team helping to shape a vision of the NII, also stated that "we are releasing these papers because it is not enough to discuss how information highways will be built; we must also understand—and inform Americans—about how they will be used."

"These papers focus on the real-life concerns of people who will rely on information technology," said Brown.

The report describes a national vision for how the evolving NII can:

  • enhance the competitiveness of our manufacturing base;
  • increase the speed and efficiency of electronic commerce, or business-to-business communication, to promote economic growth;
  • improve health-care delivery and control costs;
  • promote the development and accessibility of quality educational and lifelong learning for all Americans;
  • make the nation more effective at environmental monitoring and assessing its impact upon the Earth;
  • sustain the role of libraries as agents of democratic and equal access to information; and
  • provide government services to the public faster, more responsively and more efficiently.

The topics presented in the document explore these areas as a stimulus for further debate. They are but a few of the many topics the IITF intends to explore in subsequent papers.

The papers were generated by the IITF's Committee on Applications and Technology, which is chaired by Arati Prabhakar, director of the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology.

To get a copy of the report, order PB 94-163383 prepaid from the National Technical Information Service, at Springfield, Va. 22161, (703) 487-4650, or NIST Special Publication 857 from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, (202) 783-3238. The document is also available electronically on the Information Infrastructure Task Force Gopher Server by gopher, telnet (login = gopher) or anonymous ftp to (via Internet). The document can be found in the "documents/papers" subcategory of the "speeches/testimony/documents" category.

Released May 4, 1994, Updated November 27, 2017