DEVELOPING A COMMUNITY ACCESS APPLICATION This document provides further details on three of the five criteria that should be considered in the planning/development of a Community Access Centre application. They include: I) Partnerships 2) Infrastructure A.Network Access B.Telecommunications C.General Access considerations D.Access Centre Follow-up 3) Organization A.Training Plan B.Financial Plan C.Sample Network Configurations A CAC is defined as the physical location (e.g. School, Library, etc~..) within a community where network access will be offered. The centre should be located within the community to allow convenient access to its residents. ii PARTNERSHIPS Strong partnerships will provide a platform upon which a successful Community Access Proposal will be developed. This collaboration will comprise the expertise of numerous sectors within the community in order to develop and maintain the required technical, financial and management support. The aim is to develop a plan that is viable after federal government support is withdrawn therefore, the strength of partnerships will be a very important factor upon which applications will be evaluated. Applications should include letters of support from a broad range of community groups as attachments. Important partners should include but not be limited to: Technical Consultant/Access Provider This partner will provide essential technical and training support to the group. Ideally, the individual(s) will also advise the community on issues relating to use of the network including content development, Acceptable Use Policies and methods to conduct business on the network. Local Business/Chamber of Commerce/Economic Development/Entrepreneurs; These organizations or individuals can provide the necessary financial and organizational support and generate interest among local business. These organizations may be looked to for guidance in developing business opportunities. staff training and job creation using the network. Strong involvement of the local business community in this project will open the door to increased economic opportunities for the whole community. Library/Schools/Community Colleges: These partners may provide the physical locations for access centres, training and technical hardware as well as potential training personnel. Community Associations: Possible fundraising and promotion (eg. Rotary) Provincial, territorial and/or municipal governments: These partners may provide financial or in kind support. The community organization is encouraged to register as a not for profit organization. This will develop the necessary structure and assist in the definition of individual roles within the organization. Community groups with a firm organizational structure will be looked upon more favourably by potential investors/contributors. INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN The infrastructure plan should include the following components; 2.A.Network Access An access provider must be identified along with the location of CACs. It is recommended that the number of sites be kept to a manageable number. The type of network access arranged (Dial- Up Terminal/SLiP or direct connection) will dictate the telecommunications requirements and access centre set-up. Access can be obtained from various sources. Regional networks within each province provide access to universities, colleges and increasingly to business. The regional networks are not for profit organizations governed by charters that state very specifically, why they will offer access to. The Regional Networks are listed below: YukonNet,Yukon BcNet, British Columbia Arnet,Alberta SaskNet, Saskatchewan MBNet, Manitoba ONet, Ontario RISQ, Quebec NSTN, Nova Scotia NBNet, New Brunswick NFNet, Newfoundland Several provincial governments are currently extending network access to school boards and/or schools through the development of new or expansion of existing provincial networks (eg. Ontario Education Highway in Ontario, UNITE in New Brunswick). Guidelines concerning network usage should be consulted before approaching responsible officials for Internet access. These guidelines may state in very specific terms, what the network is to be used for, i.e. classroom instruction and school administration only. Alternatively, many commercial Internet access providers are also available. Various types of network access are available. They are: Dial-Up Terminal Emulation This type of access provides a full-range of text-based services (mail, telnet, gopher, USENET). This access does not provide access to graphics based applications such as WWW. Most providers of the access (Freenets, Universities, Colleges) offer this access for little or no charge to the user. Dial-Up SLlP/PPP This access allows your local computer to "talk~' Internet with the remote host. This allows your local computer to access Client/Server based applications such as WWw. Access providers such as Freenets and universities do not usually provide SLIP/PPP access. Direct Connection Organizations may choose to set up their own Internet node or obtain a direct connection to a provider via Integrated Services Digital Network (lSDN), co-axial cable or another high speed data connection. If a community organization chooses to obtain a direct connection, costs will include: * line and hardware costs; * network server configuration; * network hardware and software upgrades; and * system administration Network Access Issues Several very important issues must be addressed when an organization considers offering Internet access to the public. Due consideration must be given to the following: 1) Acceptable Use Policy: A community along with its access provider must develop an Acceptable Use agreement. This document outlines the definition of acceptable and appropriate use of the Internet and the networking resources provided. This legally binding agreement maybe used to revoke account privileges should guidelines be broken. 2) Access to Newsgroups: A Community Access organization and its access provider must agree upon which of the estimated 10 0(X) USENET newsgroups, will be accessible by clients of the centre. 3) File Upload and Download: Community Access organizations along with this access provider must develop a policy concerning restrictions to the uploading/downloading of files onto the network. 2.$. Telecommunications Data lines for Dial-up connections (Terminal Emulation and SLIP/PPP) must be installed at both the access centre and at the access provider. Commercial access providers supply lines/modems on their end. Community Colleges/Universities do as well. However, it is recommended that Community Access Sites fund modems and lines at universities and college access points, to ensure that student access to the institution's network is not reduced. The cost of line at the access centre is the responsibility of the Community Access Site. Leased Line or ISDN direct connect options must be considered carefully as hardware and monthly maintenance fees can be considerable. Availability will also be a deciding factor. 2.C.General Access Centre Location Considerations The following criteria should be considered during the selection of a suitable physical location for Community Access centres: * convenient and universal public access; * extended hours of operation; * co-location with administrative and information support resources; * close proximity to technical support services; * secured location; and * suitable furniture and learning environment. Schools and libraries maybe considered ideal locations for these access centres, however, due consideration must be given to issues such as custodial services for cleaning centres and provision of resources such as disks, chairs, tables, bulletin boards, printer paper and toner cartridges to replace used resources. 2.D.Access Centre Fit-up The type of Internet access secured for each centre will dictate the access centre set-up. Stand-alone or lab environments maybe utilized in these centres. Dial-Up Terminal Emulation Computer: Minimum DOS low-end 8086 PC/equivalent Macintosh Modem: 1200 baud Communication S/W: Telix, Procomm or any other reputable software Other Software: N/A SLIP/PPP Computer: Minimum Windows 386 PC/equivalent Macintosh Model: 14400 baud+ Communication S/W: provided by access provider, consult technical consultant Other Software: Application Client Software (Gopher, WWW Browser, Newsreader, FTP.Mail required, can be obtained from the access provider) Technologies which allow upwards of 12 simultaneous connections over one dial-up connection are available. Each Community Access Centre must also decide whether to offer network access to individuals from their homes via dial-up connection. The size of the model pool at the Access provider must be sized accordingly. After completion of this phase, community organizations should have an action plan in place that outlines network access and access centre fit-up arrangements including timelines and cost/revenue projections. ORGANIZATION A.TRAINING PLAN It is recommended that communities use a "train the trainer" approach in the provision of Internet and network training courses. The following elements should be identified in your training plan: 1) Provider of initial training services (Access Provider?) and any associated costs 2) Information on trainers to be trained (numbers, who, how they are going to be recruited) 3) Plan for training of trainers (time commitment, costs etc...) 4) Number of hours expected 5) Nature of the training environment ic. stand-alone vs. networked lab, lecture vs. hands-on, documentation being provided, number of participants etc... 6) Anticipated timetable for training courses 1) Evaluation 8) Promotion of training services to outside organizations B. FINANCIAL PLAN A successful application must present a viable financial plan which demonstrates financial stability during and most importantly, after support from the federal government is withdrawn. Applicants must show: Revenue Sources of revenue must be identified and secured for the duration of and beyond the 18 month pilot period. Suggested revenue sources should include but not be limited to: Account/Modem access fees Information Provider fees Local/Regional Government funding Training fees (optional) Fundraising In-kind donations: *phone (data) lines *modems *computer hardware *training services *network access *space *furniture Expenses Expenses incurred in the development of a Community Access Site may include: *Computer Hardware (computer, modem etc...) *Software (communication, other) *Telecommunications: *line installation (provider and access centre locations) *monthly maintenance *long distance *Staffing *Training services *Furniture *Other (Printer paper, toner cartridges, custodial services) C.SAMPLE NETWORK CONFIGURATIONS The following sections will attempt to detail several possible access scenarios that Community Access Sites may consider for their centre(s). I) Single dial-up modem connection with Terminal Emulation access. This is the simplest and most inexpensive form of access. Lower end local computer hardware is all that is required for terminal emulation (modest hardware and software upgrades to utilize SLIP). Telecommunications costs involve the installation and maintenance of a single phone/data line per centre, same at access provider (ideally). Several access centres within a community using this type of access will provide decent access for the community, however, training workshops may prove difficult with only one terminal per centre. Expansion of this design to provide access from multiple stand-alone computers is an option, however, the added cost of the telecommunications at both access provider and centre ends must be considered. 2) Multiplexed phone line connection to a LAN. This arrangement allows a LAN to gain network access through a single dedicated phone line. This arrangement will involve higher initial equipment, software and support costs (if a LAN is not already in place) but will provide better access in comparison to that offered in Option 1. Telecommunications costs will be similar to those of option one. This is a relatively inexpensive solution that will provide multi-user access at a Community Access Centre. 3) Dedicated line connection to an Internet Provider. Community Access sites may consider an option whereby their access site has a direct connection to their internet provider via regular leased line, Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) or coax cable. This option may be expensive due to the cost of the lines and requisite hardware. A community considering this option should consider equipping the access centre(s) with higher- end computer hardware, potentially adding additional costs to their proposal. 4) Freenet Community Network Freenets, using inexpensive software, and a number of low speed modems give access to individuals in a controlled community-like environment. The power of the computer upon which the community network is based strictly on a function of the number of anticipated users. Freenets do not allow access to open telnet (remote connection) or file transfer (ftp) to/from the open Internet. Freenets provide access to Gopher, e-mail and USENET newsgroups Many freenets are now beginning to offer WWW access and documentation. Organizations such as Telecommunities Canada, which comprises of members existing and developing Freenets in the country, are available to provide assistance to individuals interested in developing a community network.