Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Virginia, Capital of the Internet

Author:Faisal Jawdat
Posted:9/24/1999; 12:31:04 PM
Topic:Virginia, Capital of the Internet
Msg #:11444
Prev/Next:11443 / 11445

Well, yes, it is. Cyber-libertarians love to talk about how the Internet is everywhere, but the core is in Virginia. UUNet, AOL, PSINet, Sprint, are all in Northern Virginia. WinStar is in Northern Virginia. RCN's network core is in Northern Virginia. Network Solutions is in Northern Virginia.

The Bay Area has aggregated the talent to produce lots of companies that have established interesting businesses over the Internet, but so have a lot of other areas. Northern Virginia has aggregated the talent to produce and run the networks. If you want to build a technology company, you go to the Bay Area (or, increasingly, New York, LA, Virginia). If you want to work in networking, you go to Virginia.

The Bay Area has software, it has lots of engineering and tech marketing talent, it has lots of cross polination, and it has VC and visibility. But there lots of other software producers, lots of other VC, and visibility can be manufactured. Supposedly Southern California actually has more software companies than Northern. I'm not sure if that's true, but we all know that the world's largest software company, the company everyone thinks of when you say the word "computer software company", is not in California at all. And that applies to the world's best known Internet retailer as well.

Drop a bomb on Herndon, VA and, despite all the newspaper articles about "built to withstand nuclear attack", the Internet will be in a world of pain. The current net does not "route around problems", especially problems like the sudden disappearance of the people who get paged at 3 AM when Brazil gets blackholed.

When the mayor's spokesman whines about the "most Wired City in America" status, he's talking about how a local magazine ranked consumption of network bandwidth using somewhat spotty statistics. He ignores the fact that the management of the infrastructure for all that bandwidth comes from the other side of the continent.

Mind you, the DMV stuff is nonsense. Gilmore is grandstanding (as usual). But the California DMV being the Internet DMV? Give me a break. In Virginia you get your driver's license the day you walk in. In California you have to wait six weeks for them to mail it to you, if they don't confuse you with someone else and just decide not to. If the California DMV knew anything about the Internet they'd know that it's not just the web, and it's about efficiency, not pretty graphics. California's DMV is the exact opposite of that: a petty bloated bureaucracy that is the sort we want the Internet to make obsolete.

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