Milestone-Proposal:URUPAC

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Docket #:2023-21

This is a draft proposal, that has not yet been submitted. To submit this proposal, click on the edit button in toolbar above, indicated by an icon displaying a pencil on paper. At the bottom of the form, check the box that says "Submit this proposal to the IEEE History Committee for review. Only check this when the proposal is finished" and save the page.


To the proposer’s knowledge, is this achievement subject to litigation? No

Is the achievement you are proposing more than 25 years old? Yes

Is the achievement you are proposing within IEEE’s designated fields as defined by IEEE Bylaw I-104.11, namely: Engineering, Computer Sciences and Information Technology, Physical Sciences, Biological and Medical Sciences, Mathematics, Technical Communications, Education, Management, and Law and Policy. Yes

Did the achievement provide a meaningful benefit for humanity? Yes

Was it of at least regional importance? Yes

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to pay for the milestone plaque(s)? Yes

Has the IEEE Section(s) in which the plaque(s) will be located agreed to arrange the dedication ceremony? Yes

Has the IEEE Section in which the milestone is located agreed to take responsibility for the plaque after it is dedicated? Yes

Has the owner of the site agreed to have it designated as an IEEE Milestone? Yes


Year or range of years in which the achievement occurred:

1977 to 1995

Title of the proposed milestone:

LOCALLY BUILT TELEX AND PUBLIC INTERNET ACCESS IN URUGUAY, 1977 to 1995

Plaque citation summarizing the achievement and its significance:

Supported by Uruguay's national telecom ANTEL, a team of brilliant engineers, trained at the Universidad de la República, working in their companies INTERFASE and CONTROLES, designed and built electronic, programmable Telex exchanges. By 1980, they were reliably handling international traffic. In 1990, a re-configured system provided X.25 packet switching (URUPAC); The addition of TCP/IP in 1995 gave the Uruguayan public Internet access.It was decommissioned in 2012.

200-250 word abstract describing the significance of the technical achievement being proposed, the person(s) involved, historical context, humanitarian and social impact, as well as any possible controversies the advocate might need to review.

In 1976, having exhausted the optimization of the available manual and automatic (strowger) facilities, ANTEL’s technical section in charge of the growing Telex service--led by Juan Carlos Miguez and later by his assistant Rodolfo Fariello—boldly decided to commission the design and construction of a full- electronic program controlled exchange to serve the public traffic to the incipient electronic industry in Uruguay. Antel authorities approved the concept, which included an advanced payment to partially cover the long design and development phase. The system was specified and a consortium of CONTROLES (HW oriented) and INTERFASE (SW oriented) was selected in a public bid. A generation of brilliant Engineers--Juan Grompone, Nestor Mace, Jaime Jerusalmi, Enrique Salles, among others--educated in the public University UDELAR with mentorship from Professor Ricardo Perez, had founded those enterprises that took the challenge. Under ANTEL’s technical guidance, they successfully had the first 128-line prototype in service in 1980; quickly expanding to several 1024 units satisfying -through major international carriers- all international traffic demands and giving reliable service. In 1990, a similar system was configured as an X-25 packet switch providing national and international traffic; TCP/IP was incorporated in 1995, giving the country its first public access to Internet. Internet growth made those services unnecessary and they were decommissioned in 2012. This work is an exceptional proof of applying good Engineering principles to the construction of advanced products, with no previous knowledge or experience: just an appropriate specification of the needs and international standards to follow.

IEEE technical societies and technical councils within whose fields of interest the Milestone proposal resides.

Computer Society, Communications Society

In what IEEE section(s) does it reside?

IEEE Uruguay

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) which have agreed to sponsor the Milestone:

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) paying for milestone plaque(s):

Unit: Uruguay Section
Senior Officer Name: Juan Gutierrez

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) arranging the dedication ceremony:

Unit: Juan Gutierrez
Senior Officer Name: Juan Gutierrez

IEEE section(s) monitoring the plaque(s):

IEEE Section: Juan Gutierrez
IEEE Section Chair name: Juan Gutierrez

Milestone proposer(s):

Proposer name: Juan Carlos Miguez
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public

Proposer name: Juan Grompone
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public

Please note: your email address and contact information will be masked on the website for privacy reasons. Only IEEE History Center Staff will be able to view the email address.

Street address(es) and GPS coordinates in decimal form of the intended milestone plaque site(s):

1075 Guatemala St, Montevideo -34.892010598440095, -56.19430159825124

Describe briefly the intended site(s) of the milestone plaque(s). The intended site(s) must have a direct connection with the achievement (e.g. where developed, invented, tested, demonstrated, installed, or operated, etc.). A museum where a device or example of the technology is displayed, or the university where the inventor studied, are not, in themselves, sufficient connection for a milestone plaque.

Please give the address(es) of the plaque site(s) (GPS coordinates if you have them). Also please give the details of the mounting, i.e. on the outside of the building, in the ground floor entrance hall, on a plinth on the grounds, etc. If visitors to the plaque site will need to go through security, or make an appointment, please give the contact information visitors will need. The intention is to put the plaque in the public entrance hall of the “Tower of Telecommunications” of ANTEL, the institution which enabled this development and used it -and which most probably will be there for many years. Furthermore, in this case we are not talking of a massive achievement in a place, like a Hydroelectric Powerhouse, but of a project which is mainly a implementation of hardware and software, which does not need to be associated with a physical place. The collocation of the plaque in the public-acsesible hall of the Tower of Telecommunications -which is much visited by public and the rest of the Telecommunication enterprises operating in Uruguay seems most appropriate.

Are the original buildings extant?

The building where those telecommunications switches were put into service does exist, but it is an old building in the center of the city, where realstate is most valuable and candidate to be soon demolished to make room for a new highrise, Its uncertain future makes it unadequate for mounting the Milestone plaque.The two companies [CONTROLES and INTERFASE still exist in their own buildings, but their owners are aging and they risk being adquired by some national or international corporation, so the name and purpose of the building with the plaque might practically lose any connection with the project, the object of this Milestone; which by iys nature as a fundamentally software achievement is loosely tied to a physical place,

Details of the plaque mounting:

in the ground floor public entrance hall

How is the site protected/secured, and in what ways is it accessible to the public?

Its the public entrance hall of a government building, open to everyone during working hours and with adequate security

Who is the present owner of the site(s)?

Uruguay's Telecom, ANTEL

What is the historical significance of the work (its technological, scientific, or social importance)? If personal names are included in citation, include justification here. (see section 6 of Milestone Guidelines)


What obstacles (technical, political, geographic) needed to be overcome?

For this kind of electronic and software projects, there are neither geographical nor environmental constraints.

The main difficulty was political [in its sense of following well-established policies] The universally accepted way in third-world countries, once the need was well established and formulated [in this case:demand for digital communications services] was to obtain a thick loan from the International or Interamerican Development Bank, contract a recognized consulting firm, which would copy and paste the specifications for the international bid and handle it. Finally, an expensive equipment would be bought from the big vendors in Europe, Japan or the United States [the “nobody was ever fired for buying IBM” syndrome] With this local-built sollution, the necessary Hardware components would be imported, but the main ingredient, intellectual capital, would be paid in and stay in the country.

In this case, the Administration trusted its technical Department and two young, and at the time barely known Engineering Firms giving a substantial monetary advancement which would partially cover design costs for a product that would eventually appear years later. It was a bold, risky move into unchartered territories. The good result of the project gave a boost to the Electronics and Software industries in Uruguay and would later result [among many others] in the development of Remote Terminal Units for SCADA systems, which were extensively used by the Electric Utility in the country and also exported to Venezuela and Chile.


Technically, there were myriad of problems to solve, from the architecture of the system down to to the distribution of power in cabinets to be specially specified and built.

At this point, we will just mention a few outstanding issues:

- First, to match the low-voltage IC electronics with the relatively high tension [120V] and distorted signals that came from the existing mechanical teleprinters. Although slow [mostly 50 Bd] those signal were also jittery, bouncy and had suffered interferences on their way from the subscriber to the exchange.

- Second, the design and implementation of a realtime software system to reliably attend thousands of independent users is [and has always been] a very difficult matter, its success specially significant with the then [early 80’s] available and comparatively slow microprocessors.

What features set this work apart from similar achievements?

There Are few [if any?] intents of developing an advanced Telecommunications product in the third world ; They are generally made inside big companies in the U.S. Europe, Japan, China, etc. That means valid comparisons are difficult.

Supporting texts and citations to establish the dates, location, and importance of the achievement: Minimum of five (5), but as many as needed to support the milestone, such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or chapters in scholarly books. 'Scholarly' is defined as peer-reviewed, with references, and published. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. At least one of the references must be from a scholarly book or journal article. All supporting materials must be in English, or accompanied by an English translation.


Supporting materials (supported formats: GIF, JPEG, PNG, PDF, DOC): All supporting materials must be in English, or if not in English, accompanied by an English translation. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. For documents that are copyright-encumbered, or which you do not have rights to post, email the documents themselves to ieee-history@ieee.org. Please see the Milestone Program Guidelines for more information.


Please email a jpeg or PDF a letter in English, or with English translation, from the site owner(s) giving permission to place IEEE milestone plaque on the property, and a letter (or forwarded email) from the appropriate Section Chair supporting the Milestone application to ieee-history@ieee.org with the subject line "Attention: Milestone Administrator." Note that there are multiple texts of the letter depending on whether an IEEE organizational unit other than the section will be paying for the plaque(s).

Please recommend reviewers by emailing their names and email addresses to ieee-history@ieee.org. Please include the docket number and brief title of your proposal in the subject line of all emails.