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Developing and Extending the Internet2 Community

Posted on Aug 01, 2013 by John Morabito
Tags: Leadership, Member Update, Strategic Leadership

The Internet2 External Relations Division performs key services devoted to developing and extending the Internet2 community. Three programs currently comprise External Relations: Legal, which provides legal advice and services that support Internet2; Government Relations, which develops public policies and represents Internet2 before government officials; and the U.S. Unified Community Anchor Network (U.S. UCAN program), which supports the broadband needs of national community anchor institutions and integrates anchors into the research and education (R&E) community. We would like to take this opportunity to update the Internet2 community on our current activities.

The Internet2 Legal program actively supports the contractual and legal needs of all divisions of Internet2. Legal works with each division to develop and negotiate agreements and creates legal templates that minimize risk to Internet2 and its members, reduce the time and effort required to complete a transaction, and increase cost savings for members. In addition, Legal plays a key role in establishing the legal frameworks for the Internet2 NET+ program, the Network Services Global Campus initiative, and the Internet2 E-Content pilot project aiming to provide member institutions with substantial legal efficiencies in adopting emerging advanced network, cloud and trust solutions.

Legal also assists Internet2 members with the development of unique contract and participant mechanisms, particularly with regard to the expanded set of NET+ services. With all of these activities, Legal works closely with university counsels to ensure that their views are built into the contractual component of any program. In addition, Legal supports other R&E initiatives including InCommon, the CIFER Project, and Shibboleth.

Internet2’s Government Relations program serves Internet2 on a variety of public policy and strategic matters relevant to our members and community. Specifically, Government Relations has responsibility for defining public policy projects and priorities; developing those policies, both domestically and internationally; drafting advocacy materials; analyzing rules, legislation, and other matters impacting Internet2 and our members; and engaging in external advocacy. Over the past year, for example, Government Relations has been actively engaged in or closely monitoring public policy debates involving state legislation impacting R&E networks, public safety, universal service, federal cybersecurity activities, and the need for U.S. involvement in upgrading global R&E network platforms. The Government Relations program will continue to participate in these matters and take on emerging policy issues that are important to Internet2 and our members and community.

Internet2 launched the U.S. UCAN program three years ago as a result of its award under the federal government’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). Over the past year, the program has worked to integrate Internet2’s Sponsored Education Group Participant (SEGP) and portions of the Health Sciences programs under the U.S. UCAN umbrella. U.S. UCAN also has undertaken the “CAI Connections” survey to better understand how its SEGP and Regional partners serve CAIs. Initial analysis of the survey results has found the number of CAIs connected to Internet2 has increased from an estimated 66,000 in 2009 to over 93,000 today. U.S. UCAN also is working with Internet2’s regional members to identify and document how the R&E community has maximized federal investments, through BTOP, to advance broadband nationwide.

Day to day, the U.S. UCAN team is focused on facilitating innovative programs for CAIs, such as the Presidential Primary Sources Project, and attending national CAI association events, such as the American Telemedicine Association program on healthcare and advanced broadband. U.S. UCAN’s CAI outreach also includes demonstrating the power of Internet2 to support groundbreaking applications to national CAI audiences, including a LOLA demonstration at the largest K-12 technology conference, ISTE. This fall, U.S. UCAN will re-launch its community portal, Muse, to better promote program development and collaboration between CAIs, networking partners, and application practitioners.