Specialized Services and Applications
The Soviet network is more functionally specialized, serving the single purpose of distributing a fixed-format newspaper from Moscow or regional capitals. Toward the end of the Soviet period, data transfer and computer networking were being sketchily served in the Soviet Union by branch networks patched together with various combinations of customer and Minsviazi equipment and lines and by an embryonic "General State System for Data Transfer". Unlike the telephone network, which despite its defects functions, in the applications there is little left that can continue in use or be adapted to a more modern system, and basically they have had to start over in the 1990s. In the reform period e-mail has expanded rapidly, but mainly on specialized overlay networks created by companies outside Minsviazi. The USSR Gosbank served as the payment and credit agent for the entire Soviet economy, and its "system" also included several specialized banks, i.e., the savings bank, the foreign trade bank, and the investment bank.