BOD 01 86

EARN Document

Title:      Minutes of EARN Board of Directors meeting March 24/25 1986

Author(s):  Not known

Date:       1986/3/25

Committee:  Board of Directors


Revision:   0


Status:     Final

Maintainer: Board of Directors

Access:     Board of Directors



Minutes of the Meeting held 24 and 25 March 1986, Brussels


David Lord, President/CERN           Miguel Campos/Spain

Jean-Claude Ippolito                 Birgitta Carlson/Sweden

Treasurer/France                Oguz Manas/Turkey

Paul Bryant, Chairman of             Christopher Wilkinson/EEC

Technical Committee/UK          Herb Budd/IBM Europe

Jan Nuyens/Belgium                   Alain Auroux/IBM Europe

Frode Greisen/Denmark                Norbert de Clerq/IBM Belgium

Matti Ihamuotila/Finland             Guy Nedret/IBM Belgium

Michael Hebgen/Germany               Jean-Claude Seres/IBM Europe

Stelios Orphanoudakis/Greece         Bernd Kirchner/IBM Germany

Michael Walsh/Ireland                Alessandro Fusi/IBM Italy

Kenneth Preiss/Israel                Frans Insinger/IBM Netherlands

Marco Sommani/Italy                  Colin Setford/IBM UK

Kees Neggers/Netherlands             Nedret Suzmen/Turkey PTT

Odd Meland/Norway


Dennis Jennings                      Stefano Trumpy, Secretary/Italy


I D Lord, chairman, opened the meeting, welcoming all participants and thanking Prof Huyens and IBM for the local organisation.   He gave details of the arrangements for the meeting.


The following comments were made:

– the previous minutes were received only a few weeks ago, this did not leave enough time to study them carefully.

– some members asked to have details about the budget.   D Lord informed the Board that only a small part of the grant from IBM has been used.   In particular a part was used to pay to send a representative of EARN to a BITNET Technical Committee meeting in the USA.   It is also used to cover a part of the expenses of the Executive Committee.

– J-C Ippolito gave the situation of the Associations accounts as of the end 1985m the balance was approximately US$50,000.

– a Board member asked to see a financial statement.   D Lord replied that such a statement would be provided at the next Board meeting.

– D Lord asked for the Board’s agreement to the opening of a bank account in French Francs in order to avoid problems with French regulations.   This was approved by the majority of the Board.

– to conclude this item, D Lord mentioned that the Executive Committee had had two meetings at Paris airport.   No minutes were being circulated as the results of these meetings are being presented under various points on the agenda of this meeting.


The following amendments were approved:

additional point in item 4:  proposal to set up a membership committee.

new item:  promotion networks.

item 12:  some additional points are requested by some members.

item 12:  problem of accepting eastern block countries.

The above amendments were approved.


– the statistics of the BITNET/EARN nodes are presented.   D Lord pointed out the very satisfactory increase in the size of the network.

– since last meeting, a request for Associate Membership has been received from the International Computer Centre (ICC) in Geneva.   This centre belongs to the United Nations.   It provides computing services to the UN and many of its associated organisations.

D Lord said that he felt that their application could be considered to be acceptable if they were to limit access to EARN to those organisations whose objectives and activities are compatible with those of the EARN membership, he suggested the following list.

UN Environmental Programme (UNEP)

UN Development Programme (UNDP)

UN Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)

UN University (UNU)

World Health Organisation (WHO)

World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)

The ICC has agreed to this restriction.   D Lord recalled the procedure for accepting Associate Members and ask the Board to be flexible in the case of ICC for the first year with regards to it being sponsored by a Full Member.

The Board accepted ICC as an Associate Member.

– K Neggers reminded the Board that he had previously presented a request for membership from a Research Lab. of the Dutch PTT.   The Board agreed to accept this organisation as an Associate Member.


A memo on this subject had been previously distributed to all members of the Board.   D Lord suggested that it would be an advantage for EARN and the Full Members to accept governmental agencies and commercial organisations that are financing research or who are involved in joint projects with Full Members of the Association.   They could be accepted as Associate Members.   The following comments were made:

– O Meland asked for a definition of governmental research associates and explained the situation in Norway.   There the research institutes are mainly non-profit foundations.   They are closely associated with universities.   So according to this definition, they should be considered as associate members and not full members.   He himself comes from a non-profit foundation created by a university.   He was asked if these Norwegian foundations received “education discounts” from IBM and other manufactures as this would indicate whether they are nevertheless considered to be educational institutions.

– F Greisen said that this was in fact the case for Denmark where they have similar foundations to those in Norway.

– O Meland confirmed that they do receive those reductions.

– J-C Ippolito asked what the difference was between Full and Associate Members.   D Lord explained that the basis for the distinction was that it was decided some time ago by the Board that EARN’s membership criteria should be defined so as to ensure that users in organisations that are Full Members of EARN will be a able to communicate with people at any nodes of BITNET.   The membership of BITNET is largely oriented towards academic institutions, for various reasons such as ones related to taxation.   They however understand that in EARN we need to accept various government run national or international research organisations on the same footing as Universities.   In BITNET they avoid this question as many of these type of laboratories are run for US government agencies by Universities.   We must have membership criteria for EARN that still allow this free communication with BITNET members of all classes for all of the Full Members of EARN.   It maybe that there will be cases where this will not be true for Associate Members.

D Lord proposed to establish a Membership Committee of, say, two or three people, who can then be expected to well understand the membership criteria.   This would lead to a more consistent application of these criteria.   The procedure would then be as follows:

– an application presented to a national director, that does not obviously quality for Full Membership, should be passed on, with all of the necessary information, to the Membership Committee.

– they would then study the case and make a recommendation which would be distributed by Electronic Mail.

– any Board member could then oppose this recommendation during a period of, say, two weeks.

– any recommendation opposed would then have to be presented at the next full Board Meeting.   Otherwise the recommendation would be considered as accepted.

D Lord suggested that this is the most convenient way to proceed and it should avoid much loss of time.   The comments on this proposal were:

– the general feeling was that this is a good idea.   S Orphanoudakis asked for details on the way to present files and pointed out that membership could be accepted in this case without the Board approval.

– D Lord replied that in the first place each Director is in the best position to provide information concerning organisations applying in his country.   There are so far very few applications, so this procedure will be used rarely.   It will save us a lot of time.

The Board approved the establishment of the Membership Committee.   Birgitta Carlson was asked, and agreed, to chair this Committee, the other members who also agreed to serve are F Freisen and K neggers.

P Bryant suggested that this committee issue a document about criteria of membership and proposed improvements.


– D Lord explained that he has received requests for membership from an institute for computing in Hungary and from Warsaw University.   He pointed out that these requests were not “whether” they can be members but “how” to be members.   This raises the problem of accepting these countries as members of EARN and attaching their computers to the EARN network.

– H Budd explained the main problems he could foresee in this:

Sticking to the local, COCOM and US export regulations.

Identifying within a country the official agency that can supply the correct information on these regulations.   EARN should generate a list of these agencies in order to be sure about information received.

The risk of unexpected changes to these laws and rules.

D Lord emphasised the need to be careful because if a network member gives a connection to a node in an eastern block country, there is a risk for the whole network.   During the following discussion the following comments were made:

any request should be subject to the approval by all countries, including the USA.

membership for eastern block countries doesn’t seem very desirable, given the problems that it raises but it cannot be purely rejected without studying the matter.

even if requests were accepted, this should not be taken as a precedent and no further connections should be considered to be guaranteed.

a trial should be made taking a specific case to see if it is legally possible to do this.

many members of the Board emphasised the issue of security for the network and for users.

the question of the difficulty of checking what connections exist was mentioned.

B Carlson commented that obtaining licenses is not difficult for specific cases.

Most of the members agreed to making a test case with one country.   M Walsh insisted that first of all a check must be made of the USA position before starting any investigations.   To conclude, D Lord insisted that everybody has to be cautious in any action in order to avoid to compromising the existence of the network.


B Carlson commented that high schools degrees are quite different in various countries, some even give the equivalent of university degrees.

K Preiss stated that the situation in Israel is very clear.

D Lord explained that this matter had come up because some proposals have been made for the use of EARN in research projects which involve the participation of high schools and linking them to universities.   In such a case they could be associate members for the duration of the project.



As it seems that there had been recently some evolution in the attitudes of the PTTs, the representative of each country was asked to explain the situation regarding volume tariffs on both national and international lines, to give some figures and make a quick summary of any negotiations with PTT.


There has been discussions with PTT.   Their proposal for volume charges is as follows:

– The volume charge would be applied on top of a base charge equal to 60% of the normal leased line rate.   The minimum monthly charge is however the normal leased line rate.

– The traffic volume would be charged at approx 40 lira per Kbyte, for traffic between Italy and Europe.   Traffic outside Europe would be at three times this rate.

– Transit traffic would not be charged and the volume charge only applies to the international lines.

– The charges would be calculated on data to be provided by EARN itself.

M Sommani feels they should refuse their PTT’s proposal because it desirable to challenge them on this issue of volume charging.   In Italy they are willing to do this but there are some risks that the service might be cut off, so they would like to have approval and support of the Board before doing this.


The situation in the UK is very similar to that in Italy except for the magnitude of the charges.   There are charges on transmissions in both directions.

– the basic tariff to which the volume charge is added equals the normal leased lines charged with a minimum monthly charge of about 1.5 times that.

– the volume charge if 1.10 pence per Kbyte.

– the transit traffic is not charged.

– it was pointed out that Mercury is not yet in a position to quote for international lines.


There are no volume charges on national lines, so far nothing definite on the international lines.


He has received a proposal from the French PTT for the traffic on the international lines.   There is no charges on transit traffic.   Different rates will be charged for traffic with countries within Europe and with those outside;  in the latter case the price will be between two and three times higher.

In a discussion with them last year, the PTT asked them to study the   traffic with Europe and the USA.



They have not had many discussions but they have agreed schedule of commitments with the PTT.   This means leased lines at present.   As soon as possible, there is to be volume charging between Belgium and France, but the tariff has not been discussed yet.   The volume charges will be on international traffic only.


There are no volume charges.   No discussion has taken place on national traffic.   On international traffic, the position is to follow Germany.


In the future they are going to have to pay volume charges on international line.   Because the lines from Stockholm to Helsinki are rather crowded they are very expensive.   Perhaps the costs could be lower using X25 circuits.


– there are no extra charges on national lines

– on international lines, there is at present a fixed surcharge of 25%.   This is not final as the PTT is in discussion with the CEPT.   For the moment, there are no discussions on volume charges.


Their PTT has two different positions:

– on the link between Madrid and Rome they propose to make a charge by volume with a different rate, according to the destination (European or inter-continental).

– on the link between Barcelona and Montpellier they have made no such proposal.

– the rate proposed for the inter-continental traffic is about 150% higher.

– the minimum charge is to be about US$1,500 per month.


Currently there are no volumes charges on national lines and relatively little on the international lines.   However some changes in PTT regulations are expected by mid 1986.

– on national traffic the charges will be based on total transmission time on a monthly basis.   There would be a flat rate for the first 6 hours in a month, corresponding to a total of 720 hours in a year.   This would be reduced year by year ending up at 80 hours.   This could lead to costs as much as five times higher than now.   B Kirchner believes that this plan is very expensive for the users and is unlikely to be introduced.

– on international lines, for 9,600 bps lines, again based on transmission time there will be a basic flat charge for the first 120 hours per month.   This would be about 5,000 to 6,000 DM per month.   For extra hours each month there will be a charge of between 22 and 16 DM per hour.

– for the intercontinental lines, the system is the same but the flat monthly charge would be about 18,500 DM, additional hours being charged at a rate of 80DM.   In practice the cost would be a maximum of three times the flat rate.

– the PTT is proposing to measure the transmission time by a hardware box;  at present this does not seem to be acceptable, negotiations are continuing between the PTT and the computer manufacturers.


It can probably be assumed hat Austria will follow the German PTT’s proposal, but for the moment, they have flat tariff.


There are no volume charges on leased lines, ie on the line to Stockholm.


There are no volume charges, neither on national, nor on international leased lines.   There have been some contacts with PTT to study this matter.


There are no volume charges on any lines and nothing on volume charges has been discussed so far.


There are no volume charges.   No final decision has been taken.


–     there are to be no volume charges on national lines.

– however the Swiss PTT has said that it intends to introduce volume charges on international lines.   Their first study of this has been done, but the cost appears to be a lot too high, even to them.

To summarise:

– the PTT’s are neither planning nor introducing volume – based tariffs in a uniform manner.

– where they have given figure,s the tariffs would almost certainly lead to alarming increase in costs.

– many talk of charging on both the volume of incoming as well as outgoing traffic.   This is most impractical and contrary to the way they charge for their other services.

– some PTT’s also may want to charge on transit traffic, this also is impractical for EARN and would lead to excessive costs.

Comments made were as follows:

– if Germany applies its new system, there will be charges on transit traffic.

– P Bryant mentioned that at lease in the UK, there are two different kinds of traffic:

– – traffic with high volume and small value

– – traffic with small volume and high value

A study is needed of how to charge differently for these two different types of traffic.

– M Sommani agrees with German PTT’s attitude as they are charging costs for an actual service.

In conclusion:

– the Board agreed that the Italian PTT’s proposal should be rejected as a test case.

– it was felt that studies of traffic and cost patterns are needed.   This should include comparisons with costs in North America.   The studies should be done together with the CEPT.

– these problems of cost don’t just concern EARN but will have an adverse effect on all academic and research networks in Europe.


D Lord reminded the Board of the importance of relationships with the CEPT and the need therefore following the departure from the Board of H Hultzsch, to nominate someone to do the task of liaison with the CEPT.   He also proposed that as H Hultzsch was still closely connected with EARN he should be co-opted in this role into the Executive Committee, in this way the advantage of his good relations with members of the CEPT would not be immediately lost.   The comments made were as follows:

– a member of the Board should be involved in the liaison with CEPT because of its importance.

– the most practical way would be to nominate H Hultzsch plus a member of the Board.

The Board agreed to nominate H Hultzsch with as a Board Member, M Hebgen, to be responsible for liaison with the CEPT.


A memo describing a code of conduct for users was discussed.   It was intended that it should be sent to all of the member site of the network and there distributed to all of their users.    In the discussion the following points were made:

B Kirchner stated that it is virtually impossible to limit the size of the files sent over EARN.

K Preiss supposed that there are very few very heavy users.   In this case he suggested that file size could be limited in the day to 0.5 Mbytes.   Bigger files could then be sent at off-peak hours.   The Board agreed that K Preiss’s suggestion should be added to point 3 of the memo.

A clarification of point 5 of the memo was requested.   The transmission of licensed software over the network cannot be allowed because either it is a commercial activity or it will be being done to move copies of the software which in most cases is contrary to the license conditions.   The following amendment was agreed by the Board:  “software may not be sent over EARN contrary to the provision of its license”.

following the comments on point 4 by M Sommani, it was agreed to cancel the last sentence.

C Wilkinson pointed that the OECD has a code of conduct specified for data transmission.


The first day’s session ended with the presentation of a promotion video on EARN.



P Bryant presented the activities at the last meeting, held near Geneva.   In the discussion the following comments were made:

– P Bryant announced that the next meeting would be in Paris and mentioned an agenda.

– D Lord said he had been asked to raise in the Board the idea of a regular publication about EARN.   This idea needs manpower and finance but would be useful to promote the network.   No specific proposals arose from the discussion on this subject.

–     X400 PROJECT

P Bryant explained that this project will be delayed for about three months.   Its next meeting will take place in Heidelberg Scientific Centre from 7 to 11 April 1986 for ‘training’ on their implementation.

the participating sites are in the:  Netherlands, Germany, UK, France, Norway, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland and perhaps Italy.

B Kirchner commented on some technical difficulties that are encountered when using the X400 system.   He is using PROFS as user interface.

following a request from M Walsh, P Bryant agreed to the participation of other groups providing they are self-financing.

B Kirchner suggested to invite all PTT’s at the end of the study to a demonstration.

C Wilkinson said that he would like to talk about certification at a later meeting.


D Lord proposed in a previously distributed memo a number of minor changes to the charter concerning those parts of the network where leased lines are not used in the usual way, eg JANET and the exclusion of the use of EARN for political as well as commercial purposes.

P Bryant felt that the world “was too narrow and K Preiss suggested that a short list of examples be included.   After some further discussion the Board agreed to amend the text as proposed.

M Hebgen explained that German Users are reluctant to accept the present wording of the section on “responsibilities”.   They also feel that the Board of Directors can change the rules and just communicate these changes to them without giving them any possibilities to influence the decision.


After a general discussion on this topic the Board agreed that a user meeting should be organised and that it would be logical to locate this first meeting in Germany as the majority of the members are German.

This meeting will take place in Berlin, at the Inter-continental Hotel from 27-29 October 1986.   The organising committee will be M Hebgen and B Kirchner.   J-C Ippolito will be involved for the financial aspects.

There is financing to cover approximately 300 guests.   This number was considered to be satisfactory   An initial allocation of places was made by country.


A general discussion on this topic took place during which it was pointed out that EARN and RARE have many objectives in common and that a membership category was being defined in the structure of RARE that would be suitable for EARN.

Consequently the Board decided that an application should be made immediately for membership of RARE.


A general discussion took place that covered some of the major problems that will have to be resolved in the next one to two years.   In particular were stressed:

– the continuing use of leased lines and their financing.

– volume charging on leased lines and/or X25 services.

– the migration of the network to the use of International Standards.

It was proposed that the possibility of setting up an EARN office to lead the effort in solving these problems, should be investigated.   The Board agreed to this proposal.


It was agreed that the next Board of Directors Meeting should take place in Berlin following the User meeting, ie starting after lunch on the 29 October 1986 continuing until lunch on the next day.