SCHOOLNET COMMUNITY ACCESS PROJECT "QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS" February 21, 1995 TABLE OF CONTENTS 1.0 Information Technology Terms 1.1 WHAT IS THE INFORMATION HIGHWAY? 1.2 WHAT IS INTERNET? 1.3 WHAT IS CA*NET. 1.4 WHAT DO WE MEAN BY "ACCESS" (On-Ramp)? 2.0 Community Access Project Terms 2.1 WHAT IS SCHOOLNET? 2.2 WHAT IS THE SCHOOLNET COMMUNITY ACCESS PROJECT? 2.3 WHAT IS THE COMPUTERS FOR SCHOOLS PROGRAM? 2.4 WHAT ARE THE COMMUNITY ACCESS PROJECTS SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES? 2.5 WHAT ARE THE COMMUNITY ACCESS PROJECTS OPPORTUNITIES AND BENEFITS? 2.6 HOW IS THE COMMUNITY ACCESS PROJECT BEING MANAGED - WHO IS OVERSEEING IT? 2.7 WHO ARE THE KEY PROJECT PARTNERS? 2.8 WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE PROVINCIAL TERRITORIAL PROJECT FACILITATOR? 2.9 WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE PROJECT SITE MANAGER? 3.0 Project Eligibility 3.1 WHICH COMMUNITIES ARE ELIGIBLE FOR THE PROJECT? 3.2 WHO ARE THE ELIGIBLE RECIPIENTS? 3.3 HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHICH COMMUNITIES CAN TAKE PART IN THE PROJECT ? (Competition Process) 3.4 WHAT ARE THE SELECTION CRITERIA? 3.5 WHAT IS MEANT BY PROJECT SUSTAINABILITY? 4.0 Funding 4.1 WHAT WILL BE THE ACTUAL FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT? 4.2 WHAT WILL THE COMMUNITY BE EXPECTED TO Contribute? 4.3 WHAT IS THE FUNDING PERIOD? 5.0 Training 5.1 WHAT TYPE OF TRAINING WILL BE AVAILABLE? 5.2 WHO WILL PROVIDE THE TRAINING? 1.0 Information Technology Terms 1.1 What is the Information Highway? The Information Highway is the advanced global information and communications infrastructure that is essential for Canada's growing information economy. This "network of networks" will link Canadian homes, businesses, governments and institutions to a wide range of interactive services -- from entertainment, educational and cultural products, to social services, data banks, computers and electronic commerce. It is these services that constitute the reason d'etre and sustaining force of the Information Highway. 1.2 What is the Internet? The Internet is a worldwide electronic communications system, interconnecting some 45,000 networks, linking some four million computers and at least 40 million users internationally, including approximately one million in Canada. Access to the Internet is provided via publicly funded networks and commercial service providers as well as telecommunications carriers. The number of networks and host computers connected to Internet is estimated to be growing at the rate of 6 percent each month. 1.3 What is CA*Net? The CA*Net is a publicly funded Canadian network providing access to the Internet and interconnecting with 10 provincial networks. By the end of 1995, CA*Net will be extended to the Yukon and Northwest Territories and its speed will he increased to true multimedia capacity. 1.4 What do we mean by ACCESS (on-ramp)? Access means "Access to the Internet" from computers through the telecommunications system. As part of the Community Access Project, computers are located in a community site such as a school, library, or other community centre which provides public access. Any resident of a community participating in the project may use the site and have access to the system. The system may be dedicated or dial-up, using modems. 2.0 Community Access Project Terms 2.1 What is SchoolNet? The SchoolNet program began less than two years ago as a joint federal, provincial, territorial and private sector initiative. It was designed to provide Canadian students and teachers with exciting electronic services which would develop and stimulate the skills needed in the new information age. Today, over 4,500 of Canada's 16,500 schools are electronically connected, with over 700 diverse services available to SchoolNet users across the country. Since October 1993, there have been over 1 million accesses to SchoolNet, representing a monthly growth rate of 65 percent. As part of the SchoolNet Community Access Project, it is anticipated that all 16,500 Canadian schools and another 3,400 public libraries, including all universities and colleges, will be connected to the information highway by 1998. SchoolNet will also connect all 417 aboriginal schools under federal jurisdiction. 2.2 What is the SchoolNet Community Access Project? An initiative designed to ensure that Canadians in rural communities have the same access as those in large urban centres, to opportunities offered by the information highway. The project focuses on the delivery of government services and information to, and on, assisting rural communities in developing the skills necessary to create and maintain jobs in the information- driven economy. The SchoolNet Community Access Project will provide up to 1,000 communities across Canada with access to the information highway through schools, libraries, etc. Federal assistance of up to $30K per site will help cover equipment, connectivity and training expenses, and provide technical support as well as locally useful electronic content such as business services. Development of the Canadian information highway is an imperative if Canada is to compete successfully in a technology dominated global economy. The government is fully committed to developing and taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the information highway. The SchoolNet Community Access Project is an integral part of this process. 2.3 What is the Computers for Schools Program? A three-year old federal government initiative which provides surplus information technology to schools, public libraries and selected training centres. Under this program, computer equipment and related software provided by government sources and the industry is fixed, upgraded, transported and installed. 2.4 What are the Community Access Project's specific objectives? There are four principal objectives. 1. To help provide training for local entrepreneurs, employees of local businesses, educators and others interested in improving their information management and networking skills; 2. to foster conversion of existing government and other services to electronic delivery as well as the development of new services, with a view to providing better and more economically efficient services to all Canadians, regardless of the size or location of their community; 3. to help raise awareness within Canada's rural communities, including aboriginal communities, of the benefits and opportunities of using information technologies and services; 4. to accelerate access to, and use of, the information highway by electronically linking Canada~s learning system -- schools, libraries, training centres, colleges and universities. 2.5 What are the opportunities and benefits communities can expect from the Community Access Project? There is a broad range of opportunities. In a large measure, it will be up to the communities to see where and how these are best utilized. The primary opportunities and benefits are: Help in training local entrepreneurs, educators and others in new information management, networking and other important employability skills government services and information more accessible through electronic means, finding and retrieving information on virtually every topic from anywhere in Canada or around the world; more efficient identification of business, job and promotional opportunities for individuals, business and communities; helping local economic development and job creation through linking communities to the information highway; ensuring equal access to the new information technology skills for young people in rural communities; local entrepreneurs will be able to see themselves on the Internet by having a home page ensuring that even small and rural communities can be part of the social, cultural and economic mainstream of this country. 2.6 How is the Community Access Project being managed - who w overseeing this initiative? The SchoolNet National Advisory Board is already in place. It is chaired by a representative of the Council of Ministers of Education and includes members from all provinces, educational stakeholders and from the information technology and telecommunications industries. The Board is now being expanded to include various federal departments and service clubs to aid in the project implementation. The Board will play a major leadership and a guidance role in the overall management of the initiative's directions and resources. The project is managed jointly by Industry Canada and Human Resources Development Canada. The federal government is advised on the project by the SchoolNet Advisory Committee and by CANARlE INC. (Canadian Network for the Advancement of Research, Industry and Education). CANARIE INC. will also administer the annual competition. At the community level, there is a Community Access Project Management Committee which oversees the planning and the day to day operation. The local committees are assisted and advised by the Community Access Project Provincial Project Facilitators who are normally representatives (or officials) of the provincial government. 2.7 Who are the key project partners? Community Access Project partners are the following organizations, institutions and individuals who provide active support to the project through funding or provision of services: federal government: Industry Canada, Human Resources Development. other government departments provincial/territorial governments: Ministries of Education, other government departments industry/associations Stentor, Sun & Apple, CA *Net, CANARIE INC.. SchoolNet Advisory Board, information Highway;v Advisory Council, Libraries association, Tourism Industry Associations, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators academia: universities, colleges, school boards, teachers 2,8 What is the role of the provincial or territorial project facilitators? A representative of the province or territory with responsibility for: Arranging training for `Community Access Project Trainers" & developing community training programs; facilitating arrangements for user-training sessions in the communities; facilitating access to existing on-line services; assisting communities with the Community Access Project, communications and promotional plans; ongoing project evaluation and assistance to the Community Access Project Committee. 2,9 What is the role of the project site manager? The project site manager is always a member of the community, usually working on the Community Access Project site, with a management responsibility for: Overall operation of the project site, including public access and operating hours; equipment and communication links; records keeping. 3.0 Project Eligibility 3.1 Which communities are eligible for the project? Towns or a municipality with fewer than 50,000 inhabitants, that incur excessive long distance charges in accessing the Internet. 3.2 Who are the eligible recipients? Canadian not for profit organizations, including educational institutions, public libraries, museums, community centres and other social or business organizations such as service clubs or Chambers of Commerce, as well as municipal and territorial government.. 3.3 How do you decide which communities will be able to take part in the project? There will be an annual open competition for the next three years, starting in February 1995, with some 300 sites being selected by an arm's length panel of community development experts. Applications must be submitted by October 31 to be considered in the 1995 competition. The competition will be administered by an independent group of experts with extensive experience in community affairs, business and social development, and electronic networking and education. The principal assessment criteria will be need, organization, infrastructure, partnership and exploitation for jobs and growth. Funds will be provided for up to 18 months after which time each participating community must assume direct responsibility for the service. 3.4 What are the selection criteria? There are five principal criteria: Need the community has limited or no access to the Internet; the unemployment rate in the community is persistently above the national average; the community suffers a major disadvantage in acquiring access to the Internet at affordable rates, relative to other locations in the province or territory, due to long distances from an Internet node or economic or other constraints; the community must demonstrate that public access to the Internet is a crucial step in achieving community learning, economic, cultural or social development goals. Organization the community must present a well-developed organizational structure as needed to secure and manage the necessary resources and community support; the community must have a well developed implementation plan covering all aspects of the project, including partnerships, site access and fit-up, technical support and infrastructure, staff/volunteers, public training programs, project marketing and communications, and evaluation; the community must propose a financial plan covering at least two years, including full project cost, the cash and in-kind contributions from all sources, level of cost recovery expected, and how the service will be maintained after the first two years. infrastructure the community's ability to acquire a local site which is convenient to users, electronic network training and transactions, and which is secure; the community's ability to acquire a suitable number of functional computers, software and hardware necessary to support Internet Operation, including modems, printers, etc; the community's ability to acquire the necessary furniture and fit-up to make the access site suitable for training and Internet transactions; the community's ability to provide adequate staff and volunteer resources necessary for the project, including people with management, computer/networking, training, technical and communications skills. The involvement of the community's youth is particularly important. Partnership the community must demonstrate support from a broad range of community interests, through letters of support explaining how the project will serve their objectives; demonstrated, high level of participation, partnerships and donations from various community interests; demonstrated support and commitment for assistance from the provincial/territorial and/or municipal governments; the community's plan for ways of networking and partnering with other communities, including proposals for projects or services it would use to achieve its goals; Future Development the community must demonstrate how the opportunity of electronic networking will be used in a determined fashion to advance the community goals; the community must demonstrate how information technology and electronic networking will be used to develop individual skills sets needed in the marketplace; the community must demonstrate how electronic networking will be used to facilitate local job and business creation. (Entrepreneurs in the community are likely to use the project to access business services, develop market opportunities and improve networking skills of their staff.); the community must demonstrate how the provision of a public access Site will promote the community's identity and competitiveness in a rapidly changing global economy. 3.3 What is meant by "project sustainability"? As part of the cOmpetitive process, each community must develop a plan for sustaining the project after the second year. Only those cOmmunities With solid plans for continuing this initiative will become part of the overall program. The role of the federal government is to help provide affordable access to the information highway through schools and libraries. We are confident that once communities discover the importance and benefits of being part of the information highway, they will ensure continued access. 4.0 Funding 4.1 What will be the actual financial contribution of the federal government? Projects will be eligible to receive up to $30,000 or 50% of eligible costs to establish a community access site. It is anticipated, that the average amount of individual contribution will be under $5,000. 4.2 What will be the community be expected to contribute? The community's share can be provided either by public sources such as provincial, territorial or municipal government, or by the private sector. The community's share of the costs can include in-kind contributions such as line costs by the carriers or equipment donated by the private sector. 4.3 What is the funding period? Up to a maximum of 18 months. 5.0 Timing 5.1 What type of training will be available? Each community access site will offer Internet usage courses to all interested citizens. These courses will provide participants with the tools of the Internet and point to resources that meet the entrepreneurial needs of the community and the educational needs of the schools and students. 5.2 Who will provide the training? The provincial or territorial project facilitators are responsible for training a core group of on- site student and community facilitators and trainers in the use of Internet. Each community will publicize these courses and make spaces available as demand requires.