CONSULTATION Using JANET in Support of Business and Community Engagement Proposal to simplify the JANET regulatory framework. 1.

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1 Contents 1. Introduction 2. Consultation Process 3. Background to the Consultation 4. Proposal for Consultation 5. Regulatory Implications of the Proposal 6. Use of JANET Services other than the IP Service 7. Example Use Cases 8. Use of Commercial ISP Services 9. Responding to the Consultation 1. Introduction CONSULTATION Using JANET in Support of Business and Community Engagement Proposal to simplify the JANET regulatory framework October 2010 The JANET(UK) Stakeholder Panel held a workshop in January 2010 to discuss how JANET might be more effectively used than at present to support the business and community engagement activities of higher and further education. The workshop concluded that there were a number of impediments to the further exploitation of JANET in this context. Some are perception rather than reality, and point to the need for more effective awareness raising and promotion. But it was also concluded that a review of the regulatory framework under which JANET operates (connection and funding policies, and the implication of statutory requirements) would contribute to the overall aim of more effective use of JANET in supporting these engagements. This consultation paper is the result of further consideration of the latter aspect. It has been put together as a result of work within JANET(UK) and a small workshop of practitioners, held in June to explore whether these would be helpful and workable in practice. 1 Its purpose is to provide background information to the changes proposed, and an overview of the implications to universities and colleges wishing to use JANET in pursuit of business and community engagement activities. It should therefore inform responses to this consultation. 2. Consultation Process JANET(UK) invites responses from those responsible within universities and colleges and research council establishments for the use of JANET services in support of the institution s business, and from those involved in the management of the institution s business and community engagement activities. A web based means of responding has been set up and guidance on how to respond can be found in Section 9 of this paper. The consultation will run until 7 November The reports of both workshops may be found at minutes.html. 5 October 2010 Page 1 of 9

2 Dependent upon the response to the consultation, we propose to present preliminary conclusions from the consultation for further discussion at the JANET Strategic Briefing in London on 23 November, and to publish final conclusions after that discussion. We expect then to implement changes to the JANET regulatory regime to take effect during the Spring of 2011, but this timetable remains provisional pending the conclusion of the consultation process. 3. Background to the Consultation Definition of Business and Community Engagement The definition formulated by the JISC Business and Community Engagement Advisory Group is used in this consultation: Business and community engagement is the strategic management, by higher and further education organisations, of relationships with external partners and clients, and of the associated knowledge exchange and workforce development services. The objective is to deliver benefits to the economy and society, resulting in a more highly skilled workforce, a more efficient, dynamic and sustainable economy and a more cohesive, knowledge enabled society. The scope of engagement includes the commercial sector, the public sector (including charities and trusts), the cultural landscape and the social and civic arena. All organisations undertake business and community engagement across this scope of engagement, but the exact mix and the resulting services deployed depend on organisational strategies. The term higher and further education organisations is assumed in this consultation to include Research Council establishments. For brevity the term universities and colleges is used to include all three types of organisation. Use of JANET in Business and Community Engagement Broadly, there are two areas in which a university or college might wish to use JANET in support of business and community engagement: to collaborate with a business or community partner also connected directly to JANET because the nature of the collaboration requires the special characteristics of JANET, rather than rely upon the partner s Internet connection; or as its network supplier (i.e. rather than using a commercial ISP) when it is itself supplying ICT services to a business or community partner, for example where that partner is located on the university or college campus. The first of these is covered by existing regulations. The JANET Acceptable Use Policy 2 regulates how any organisation with a JANET connection may legitimately use that connection. There is no impediment in this policy to the use of JANET in pursuance of an institution s business and community engagement activities, whether with the aim of commercial gain or otherwise. (There is however a perception that the Acceptable Use Policy forbids this a JANET urban myth that this initiative should help lay to rest.) The JANET Connection Policy (see below) also allows for the connection to JANET of collaborating partners, whether in pursuit of business and community engagement or of teaching or research, where this is needed to facilitate the collaboration. 2 See: 5 October 2010 Page 2 of 9

3 Sponsored Connection Licensing Scheme The second category of use is the subject of this consultation. Activity in this respect is regulated by the JANET Sponsored Connection scheme. This came into operation in 1993 and allows an organisation with a JANET connection to offer use of the JANET IP service (a sponsored connection ) to another organisation via the former s own connection to JANET. In doing so it becomes the host for the sponsored connection (the hosting organisation ) and assumes responsibility for the support of the use of JANET by the connecting organisation (the sponsored organisation ). Sponsored connections are regulated via a licensing scheme. JANET(UK) licenses the hosting organisation to pass on JANET IP services to a named sponsored organisation and there is a licence fee payable by the hosting organisation to JANET(UK). The charge is made to cover the administration of the licence and a contribution to the JANET bandwidth resources that are presumed to be consumed by the sponsored organisation. The hosting organisation s responsibilities include management of and any onward charging for the sponsored connection, and any other associated service levels and regulatory responsibilities. All these are a matter between the hosting organisation and the sponsored organisation. There is no involvement by JANET(UK) in any agreement struck. The connection covers only the provision of an IP service to the sponsored organisation; other JANET services are not available. The hosting organisation must also ensure that users within the sponsored organisations abide by the JANET Acceptable Use and Security Policies. 4. Proposal for Consultation The proposal being made in this consultation is simple: that a university or college s business and community engagement activities are no different in principle to its teaching and research activities; and therefore that it should be able to use its JANET connection(s) in pursuit of business and community engagement in exactly the same way as it uses JANET in its teaching and research missions. The immediate implication of this is that that the Sponsored Connection scheme should not apply to business and community engagement activities, and that the time is now right to de regulate this aspect of use of JANET. It will not be possible to de regulate it entirely, for the reasons set out later in this consultation, but the aim should be to move as far as is reasonably possible in this direction. 3 It is important to realise that de regulation would not come for free. Although it would remove much of the bureaucracy, constraints and charges associated with the licences, it would also place the management of policy, finance and risk squarely with the university or college concerned. Some of these matters are explored below. Although JANET(UK) can and will provide general advice, ultimately the university or college, and not JANET(UK), will be accountable for the decisions it makes and any risks or liabilities that it accrues in making these decisions. 3 JANET(UK) is also reviewing the Sponsored Connection scheme more generally, with a view to discontinuing it altogether. Our sense is that it has now served the purpose for which it was intended at the time it was set up an intervention at a time when there was an undeveloped commercial ISP market in the UK and universities were a means of providing these services more widely to their collaborators. This was, ironically, an early example of business and community engagement. This matter will be consulted upon separately, in terms primarily of implementation and timing considerations. 5 October 2010 Page 3 of 9

4 5. Regulatory Implications of the Proposal There are a number of constraints under which JANET(UK) and its funding bodies, and all publicly funded organisations using JANET, must operate. To inform the consultation, these are explored briefly here. JANET Connection Policy The JANET Connection Policy is owned by the JANET higher and further education funding bodies, acting through the JISC. It sets out what types of organisation are eligible for a connection to JANET, and at a very high level for what purpose this eligibility pertains. Its primary purpose is to protect the JANET funding bodies collective investment in JANET, by stipulating by whom and for what purpose that funding may be applied. The full policy can be found on the JANET web site 4, but in summary it currently categorises the following as eligible for a JANET connection: organisations involved primarily with the delivery or support of education and research; organisations working with, supplying to or linked with education or research or with other public sector activities; organisations wishing to receive or deliver educational or research services from or to those connected to JANET; public sector organisations wishing to use JANET for purposes other than teaching, learning or collaborative research. With the exception of the final category, it is immaterial in terms of this policy whether the organisation concerned is publicly or privately funded, or if it is operating for profit or otherwise. In practice the vast majority of organisations connected to JANET are public sector. If the proposal being consulted upon here is implemented the JANET Connection Policy will be amended to make it clear that business and community engagement stands alongside the education or research purposes summarised above. The JISC would need formally to ratify this amendment but we understand that it would be supportive of doing so. State Aid Considerations There is a risk that providing JANET services to organisations outside the public sector might contravene state aid regulations. (The provision of JANET services to public sector organisations also carries this risk where the provider is acting in the marketplace, as an economic undertaking. But in practice the risk is generally regarded as much lower in these cases, and there are established precedents in the area of aggregated public sector procurements to support this.) It is unfortunately the case that there is considerable uncertainty in the interpretation of state aid regulations, and that uncertainty inevitably leaves unanswered at this time a number of questions around this proposal. From information already obtained, it is clear that the risks, if any, would apply to the university or college using JANET to make publicly funded facilities available to a business or community engagement partner. It would not apply to JANET(UK) itself other than in respect to its own activities, if any, in this context. It is likely that any formal advice will include a stipulation that all such facilities should be charged for at the prevailing market rate, other than for fairly limited exceptions. This would also include provision via a trading subsidiary of the university or college: in this case the subsidiary would need to purchase the facilities from its parent body at a market rate if it is to avoid an accusation of inappropriate public subsidy. 4 See: policy.pdf. 5 October 2010 Page 4 of 9

5 JANET(UK) will consult formally with the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in this respect, once this consultation is complete and the exact nature of the proposal to be implemented is settled. Recent government encouragement to re use publicly funded assets in technology transfer and rural broadband initiatives may influence the advice received. JANET s Regulatory Status JANET is considered to be a private network, in the sense that a connection is available only to certain categories of user organisation, via its Connection Policy. This status excuses it from some of the regulatory requirements on a public network (i.e. one where the only constraint on an individual obtaining a connection is an ability to pay the charges levied by the operator). As some of these requirements would be costly to implement, and might curtail some other activities of JANET users, it is desirable that the private network status of JANET is retained. We believe that it should be possible to maintain JANET s status as a private network whilst allowing it to be used in the way described in this consultation. Recovery of Costs of Use of JANET There are two considerations under this heading. The first concerns any constraints that might arise from a state aid requirement to charge use of JANET at a market rate. Determining a market rate for Internet services is not easy in abstract terms, but it would of course be possible for a university or college simply to ask suitable ISPs for specific quotes. JANET also publishes its connection tariffs, which could also act as a guide in determining an appropriate charge. 5 Therefore this proposal does imply that the university or college makes its own decision on charging, subject to state aid constraints. Part of that decision will of course be the extent to which it wishes not only to recover its own costs but also make a margin on the services it is providing. JANET(UK) does not intend to introduce any guidance on this latter aspect, as we believe that this is a matter wholly for the university or college concerned. The second consideration is of the additional costs placed on JANET in meeting possible significant increases in bandwidth to and from the university or college as a result of its business and community engagement activities. As the essence of the proposal is to treat these forms of activity identically to teaching and research activities, it seems inappropriate that there should be a particular charge levied by JANET(UK) on the university or college for its business and community engagement activities, above any charge already levied for the use of JANET. Therefore we propose to make no specific charge of this sort, abolishing the charge associated with the Sponsored Connection licence. In practice, if the overall use of JANET does in future exceed the central funding available, it will become inevitable that there is some form of charging out to universities and colleges a proportion of overall costs, over and above current schemes in place. In our opinion, whether this happens will most likely be determined by the present public funding constraints, and by trends such as the move to much greater out sourcing of IT services by universities and colleges. It is unlikely to be due solely to an expansion in business and community engagement activities within the sector. If or when an element of charging out does have to be introduced, our view is that this should be determined by the university or college s use of JANET resources, to maintain fairness and so that each can make its own business decision as to how much JANET resource it wishes to consume in business and community engagement. 5 At present the only tariffs published are for a primary connection i.e. a package of all JANET services. We are shortly to introduce a separate tariff for an IP only service which may be a more appropriate tariff. 5 October 2010 Page 5 of 9

6 Inappropriate Partners There are also two considerations as to what might constitute an inappropriate business or community partner to which to provide JANET services. The first concerns behaviour and consequently reputational risk. Any organisation using JANET must do so within the terms of the JANET Acceptable Use Policy and JANET Security Policy. Both these policies are designed to protect JANET and its user base from operational, reputational or possibly legal disruption or damage. It will be incumbent upon the university or college to ensure that all of its business or community partners to whom it has provided JANET do act within these policies, as any breach would be treated in the same way as a breach by one of the university or college s own members. The second consideration is whether the university or college would wish to provide JANET services to the business or community partner in the first place. In our view, the test for this should be whether, if JANET was not available for the purpose, the university or college would nevertheless provide the services but using a commercial ISP instead. If the answer is yes, then it should be possible to do so using JANET, subject to the state aid constraint outlined above. We have considered, but do not believe it would be appropriate for JANET(UK) to attempt to set a national framework for what types of organisation are suitable. This must be determined by each university or college depending on the circumstances involved. In doing so however, we would expect the university or college to make the normal assessment of fit with institutional strategy, reputational and financial risk, and similar considerations. 6. Use of JANET Services other than the IP Service The Sponsored Connection licence scheme only allows the provision of the JANET IP service via the sponsored connection, but under this proposal there is the potential to offer other JANET services where appropriate. Formally, the JANET network security service (the CSIRT) is not available to the sponsored organisation to provide advice and other services, but informally it often is involved with the hosting organisation in resolving security incidents. 6 There has been some interest expressed in a number of other JANET services, such as the training and videoconferencing services, being made available to business and community partners. Similarly, there has been interest expressed in extending to such partners the portfolio of JANET purchasing agreements (such as the JANET Txt, JANET Server Certificate and InTechnology backup services), and also in offering the eduroam service. Our view is that there is little issue in extending purchasing agreements and similar services to business and community partners, provided that this can be scoped clearly within the procurements that establish and refresh them. Experience of services such as videoconferencing in its current delivery model does suggest though that there may be issues of scaling of resources and support if opened up to too wide a user base. In addition, we do not at this stage wish to franchise others to provide these services, wishing to retain responsibility for their delivery with JANET(UK) via our contractors where this is appropriate. Therefore we propose a cautious approach to extending use of JANET services other than the IP service (including access to the Internet, and to the CSIRT service). 6 We envisage continuing to provide IP addressing and DNS naming services, as they are provided now via the Sponsored Connection licensing scheme. We expect also to honour allocations of IP addresses and DNS names made under existing licences. 5 October 2010 Page 6 of 9

7 7. Example Use Cases The following are a number of examples of the possible application of this proposal where questions were raised in the Stakeholder Panel and expert group discussions and elsewhere, and where the answer may not be straightforward. We would be particularly interested in hearing of other examples meriting similar analysis. Wholly or Jointly Owned Subsidiaries There might be two reasons why a university or college wishes to use JANET to support a wholly (or jointly) owned subsidiary. It might be that it is doing so by providing ICT services to support the subsidiary in the purpose for which it was created (commercial or otherwise); or it may be that the subsidiary is the channel through which the university or college conducts its business and community engagement. And the subsidiary may be owned jointly by more than one university or college. In either case the intent of this proposal is that the subsidiary should be allowed to use JANET in these ways. State aid constraints suggest, once more, that it may be necessary to charge the subsidiary a market rate if it is acting as an economic undertaking. If the subsidiary is jointly owned with one or more private sector partners then this stipulation will be even more important. University Halls of Residence A procedure is already in place to deal with privately owned or operated halls of residence where JANET connectivity is required. 7 The university whose students would be using the hall is asked to agree that the connection of the hall is appropriate. This is not part of what could reasonably be categorised as business or community engagement and therefore can be treated separately. Where the university is itself providing services to students including the use of JANET, this is already treated as part of its normal business and needs no special regulation. This includes the use of the halls to accommodate non members of the university but in pursuit of the university s teaching, research and now business and community engagement activities e.g. in support of conferences, summer schools, and similar events. There may be an issue where the hall is used for purposes other these e.g. to provide accommodation to organisations or individuals on a purely commercial basis as part of sweating the asset. This too could not reasonably be described as business or community engagement, but is nevertheless a common activity. JANET(UK) s current advice is to install a commercial ISP connection for this purpose, and there is a factsheet and associated technical guidance available in implementing this. 8 However, the issue will be included in the advice sought from BIS, albeit separate from that relating to business and community engagement. Drop in Access to the Internet A number of universities and colleges operate facilities by which visitors may access the Internet via suitable access points linked to the local network and thence to JANET. Sometimes these might be located in the university or college library or similar academic location. In other cases they may be constructed as a cybercafé style of facility, not as part of an academic activity. The status of such facilities in terms of state aid regulations is not entirely clear, although there has recently been some case law applying to this type of provision in public libraries. This states that these do not breach state aid regulations. This is because where the facility is being managed and 7 This may be found at accommodation providers.html 8 This may be found at user authentication.pdf 5 October 2010 Page 7 of 9

8 individuals use of it is being supported by the host it is considered part of the organisation s noneconomic activities. If on the other hand it is a cybercafé style of operation, not managed and supported but essentially Internet access for the price of a coffee, this would not apply. Therefore our advice would be similar to that given above for an analogous situation in halls of residence, and to use a commercial ISP if the activity is of the cybercafé style described here. Science and Technology Parks In the context of this proposal there is no prima facie reason why an institution could not deliver connectivity to a university science or technology park if it wishes to do so as part of providing ICT services to tenants of the park. The state aid constraint as to doing so at a market rate would once again apply. Supplying JANET connectivity to science and technology parks outside the context of business engagement would in our opinion not be appropriate, and JANET(UK) itself has no plans to offer connectivity to these for such general use. The key test for a university considering this step would be whether it expects itself to supply and support ICT services to the park and its tenants, and would use an ISP connection to do so if JANET was not available. If it is planning merely to pass on JANET without any real involvement in supporting the tenants of the park, it would be more appropriate that the park used a commercial ISP service. Rural Broadband Initiatives The Government is presently consulting on the potential use of public sector broadband infrastructure to increase the availability of Internet connectivity in rural and other areas of market failure. A number of universities have indicated their interest in assisting in this, either alone or in consortium via a regional network vehicle. JANET(UK) fully supports this principle, subject to its operational and economic feasibility, both on its own behalf and where this might be implemented as part of a university or college s business and especially community engagement. The government is planning to provide practitioners with formal state aid advice to allow such initiatives to proceed. It is quite possible that this advice will be applicable more widely to the use of publicly funded networks in business and community engagement, albeit it may well be qualified as pertaining only to areas of market failure. 8. Use of Commercial ISP Services A university or college might choose to retain a commercial ISP for operational reasons, such as ensuring resilience of Internet connectivity via another provider besides JANET, or to lay off liabilities when providing Internet access to students or visitors. Otherwise a separate ISP connection should not be necessary under this proposal, provided that the use of JANET is part of business and community engagement activities. As suggested in the previous section, where this is patently is not the case the safer option will be to use a commercial ISP connection and services. 5 October 2010 Page 8 of 9

9 9. Responding to the Consultation The online response facility can be found at: bce. The online response asks for the respondent s name, affiliation and contact details (the latter in case of a need to follow up). It then asks eight specific questions, listed below. There is also an opportunity to give any other information, comment or opinion not covered by the questions. Alternatively, we are happy to receive responses directly. These should be addressed by e mail to: Shirley Wood Head of Customer Engagement Consultation Questions 1. Do you agree with the overall proposal: that universities and colleges should be able to use JANET in pursuit of their business and community engagement activities, as far as is possible within the same regulatory framework as that governing use of teaching and research activities? 2. If you do not agree, please summarise your reasons for disagreeing. Do you have an alternative proposal which would also lead to more effective use of JANET in pursuit of business and community engagement? If so, please summarise this. If you do agree: 3. Ultimately, state aid constraints will govern the extent to which JANET regulations can operate in favour of unrestricted use in pursuit of business and community engagement. If it does prove necessary to introduce a requirement that a university or college charges a market rate for the JANET component of services provided to a partner, would you be able to manage this requirement? What, if any, assistance would you see JANET(UK) providing in this respect? 4. In our consultation with BIS on state aid constraints, should we explore a de minimis approach i.e. to find boundaries where it would represent no or very little statutory risk to provide JANET to a business or community partner without having to apply a market rate rule? If so, what classes of partner would you envisage in this category and what would their characteristics be (e.g. size, turnover, purpose, state of the market in the area of operation)? 5. Leaving state aid constraints aside, is it acceptable that there would be no JANET charge to the university or college specifically for business and community engagement activities? And that this is handled, if necessary, via any future general charging mechanism linked to a university or college s overall use of JANET? If not, what charging regime would you favour? 6. Is it acceptable that the university or college has the responsibility and accountability for deciding which individual organisations partners would be appropriate partners to receive services involving use of JANET? If not, how would you envisage these decisions being made? 7. We are proposing that the use of JANET in supplying services to business and community partners be restricted to the IP service (including CSIRT and the IP and DNS services necessary to support the IP service fully), and should not include other JANET services outside a small subset such as purchasing agreements. Is this acceptable? If not, what should JANET(UK) do in this respect and what services are of particular importance? 8. This paper analyses a number of use case examples that commonly arise. Are these analyses helpful? If not please tell us what more you would need to know. Are there other use cases we should consider in finalising the proposal? 5 October 2010 Page 9 of 9

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