About NSFNet and The Internet
Obviously, The Internet was not always as big as it is today: in 1987 it consisted of a few cross-country phone circuits operating at the speed of a dial-up modem. In that year Merit Network won a contract from the National Science Foundation to massively increase the size of that network under the name NSFNET. In 1988 Merit hired me to build and manage a 24×7 Network Operations Center with 24 employees. During the NSFNet years 1988-1995, we were truly the center of the worldwide Internet: if you sent an email that went outside of your own state or country, it went through NSFNet before it was delivered. My staff kept NSFNet up and delivering your traffic. Those were fun years.
According to Dale Johnson, the manager of Merit’s Network Operations Center (NOC), enabled Merit to “take technology that existed in the labs, and had been proven in the labs, and take procedures that had existed in the business sides of our partners, and bring them into the Internet and make them part of Internet culture.” The Living Internet