Downtown Lexington On Patriot's Day

About the Lexington Information Network project

I thought readers might be interested in a brief description of the project underway in Lexington, Massachusetts.

As part of the existing cable franchise, Lexington is provided with an institutional network (i-net). This is a third cable, separate from the residential A&B wires, which connects all municipal offices, libraries and schools. There is an i-net cable drop in every school classroom.

With NSF grant money, Bolt Beranek & Newman (BBN) is helping connect this i-net to the Internet.

On the technical side, this involved :

  • setting aside two 6mhz channels for 2-way data transmission at 10 megabits/sec
  • new cable strung to MIT Lincoln Labs, who graciously agreed to let the town share their microwave link to Nearnet (BBN) the Internet service provider
  • some hardware at the CATV head end to send TCP/IP packets careening over those 6mhz channels
  • at every town site where computers need to connect, an aprox. $5000 box made by LanCity (also sold as DEC Channelworks) connected to the cable drop on one side and to an Ethernet LAN on the other
  • a few miscellaneous routers scattered about

    The basic system is up and running, with a first goal to support educational use in a K-12 setting. Of course, most of the schools don't have modern computers, let alone LANS...

    Meanwhile folks in town are working on a broad set of issues: defining educational goals, how to provide training & support, what is a long-range vision for town-wide use beyond the schools, community access, residential inclusion, etc.

    When you see a Macintosh on the Internet, running Mosaic at 10 megabits/second over existing cable TV facilities, wow, what a fantastic resource - a high speed Internet jack in every classroom !

    Reed Sturtevant <>


    Last update: March 12, 1995