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Netrad.net hopes to 'unmuzzle' the Internet

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Radiologists' utilization and acceptance of the Internet is being hampered by corporate greed and the confines of proprietary software, said Dr. Peter M. Britt, a neuroradiologist at Northside Hospital in Atlanta. In response to this perceived Internet

Radiologists' utilization and acceptance of the Internet is being hampered by corporate greed and the confines of proprietary software, said Dr. Peter M. Britt, a neuroradiologist at Northside Hospital in Atlanta.

In response to this perceived Internet repression, Britt has created an alternative radiology-related Web site, called Netrad.net (http://www.netrad.net/), dedicated to providing radiologists around the world with free communication and collaboration on radiology projects. Britt's site was exhibited at infoRAD during the RSNA meeting in November.

"The Internet is being muzzled," he said. "Netrad.net is an attempt to free Internet teleradiology from the corporations."

According to Britt, he alone owns and supports Netrad.net, which consists of a secure server housed at a local e-commerce Internet service provider (ISP) on a triple-redundant T1 connection to the Internet backbone. Netrad.net differs from all other radiology-specific Web sites, according to Britt, because it is free from corporate restraints and untainted by greed.

Netrad.net is not in competition with other sites for utilization or subscribers; Britt simply wants the site to continue to grow slowly while helping radiologists use the Internet for their daily needs. The site offers free Internet e-mail (yourname@netrad.net) and 25 Mb of free Web space for unlimited usage or transfer.

The idea is to grow to be an independent, completely free ISP/radiology network for any functions conceivable on the Internet. Britt promised never to sell the site or any information obtained from it, nor to ever go public or manage a stock offering.

Reaction to the site, which was inaugurated in early 2000, has been mixed. According to Britt, most physicians don't yet understand the power of a network on the Internet.

"They're just getting used to the idea of Web sites," he said. "Physicians will eventually look to the Internet to answer questions such as DICOM conversion at a universal site."

As an example, Britt is working on a project that sounds redundant - but isn't - which will accept any DICOM input and output in any DICOM format.

"That way radiologists don't have to reinvent the wheel every time they buy equipment," he said. "Teleradiology and videoconferencing are other projects in which I will engage and produce free, turnkey solutions."

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