cern_httpd has had gateway features for a long time, but only this spring they were extended to support all the methods in the HTTP protocol used by WWW clients. Clients don't lose any functionality by going through a proxy, except special processing they may have done for non-native Web protocols such as Gopher and FTP.
A brand new feature is caching performed by the proxy, resulting in shorter response times after the first document fetch. This makes proxies useful even to the people who do have full Internet access and don't really need the proxy just to get out of their local subnet.
This paper gives an overview of proxies and reports their current status.