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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Internet Traffic Jams

WASHINGTON -- the U.S. government wants to ease nagging traffic jams on the Internet so scientists and other high-tech users don't see vital computer traffic slow to a crawl.

The National Science Foundation said last week that it will offer grants to scientists and engineers to upgrade computer networks that make up parts of the Internet. The networks can then can take advantage of budding technology meant to speed the flow of scientific and technical data over the Internet.

The NSF hopes any new technology developed for its program will lead to better services for all Internet users -- scientists and surfers alike. Simply put, the agency wants to jump-start development of high-occupancy-vehicle lanes to allow priority users to bypass congested areas.

The congestion hits those who need a quick computer response, such as scientists using remote controls to operate radio and optical telescopes or electron microscopes.

The commercialization of the World Wide Web, the multimedia portion of the Internet, has in particular slowed cybertraffic. Two surveys released last week showed a growing number of Americans using online services to access the Internet.

Odyssey, an independent market research firm that tracks consumer patterns, said Internet usage in the United States doubled in the last six months. Another study said subscriptions to U.S. online services surged nearly 65 percent last year, to almost 15 million users. ()