CANARIE Connection-Fee Consultation Results

[Ottawa | 14 February 2013] CANARIE has completed its stakeholder consultation process, which was designed to gather feedback from its community on the concept of, and potential mechanisms for, connection fees.

CANARIE distributed a Discussion Paper on Connection Fees, held three conference calls and one in-person Summit meeting to engage stakeholders in the process and to gather their feedback.

Sixty-six individuals participated in the conference calls and/or the Summit meeting, and CANARIE received fifteen written documents responding to the Discussion Paper.

While stakeholders voiced strong support for the impact and value delivered by CANARIE, they offered consistent feedback that they were not supportive of connection fees. General themes emerged as to why connection fees were not supported by the research and education community:

  • institutions are already paying connection fees to their ORAN partners for access to the national research network. The current balance of funding for the national research network (comprised of CANARIE and the ORANs) is in equilibrium, and in fact mirrors the balance of funding (federal/provincial) of other federally-funded infrastructure programs, notably those of the Canada Foundation for Innovation;
  • institutions facing fiscal pressures may choose to opt out of the network and thereby weaken the integrity of the national network, isolating researchers from research data and tools available only through the research and education network;
  • investments in federally-funded “Big Science” facilities, such as VENUS and NEPTUNE Canada, TRIUMF, SNOLab, the Canadian Light Source and Compute Canada’s High Performance Research consortia, would not be effectively leveraged should institutions or regions choose to opt out of the national network, as the data and tools available from these facilities are available only through the research and education network;
  • colleges, which are ramping up their applied research collaborations with 4,500 businesses across the country, may choose to opt out of the network, which would risk the economic benefits to communities available through these partnerships;
  • any connection fees levied may give rise to pressures for increased federal funding under other research support programs, particularly the Indirect Cost of Research program or granting council research grants;
  • some ORANs have been directed to investigate alternatives to the CANARIE network by their provincial governments, to avoid the potential cost burden of connection fees. Alternative connections (to, for example, the US research network) may lead to the isolation of provinces and regions from the national fabric. This would also undermine the 20-year collaborative effort to build the national east-west network corridor; and
  • isolating the discussion to one element of digital infrastructure supporting research and education was felt to be premature, as stakeholders felt the focus should be on the development of an integrated strategy for digital infrastructure, an initiative currently being led by the Digital Infrastructure Leadership Council.

The Connection Fee Discussion Paper, as well as the reports summarizing feedback received during the conference calls and Summit meeting may be found here.

CANARIE would like to thank all who participated in this consultation and for the ongoing support for CANARIE that was voiced by community members throughout the process.

CANARIE has reviewed all the feedback received and has incorporated this feedback into the Cost Recovery Business Plan it is preparing for the Minister of Industry. CANARIE will provide more specific information on its go-forward plan once the Minister has reviewed the recommendations of the Cost Recovery Business Plan.

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For more information, please contact:
Wynn Anne Sibbald
Communications Manager
CANARIE
(613) 943-5432
WynnAnne.Sibbald@canarie.ca

About CANARIE:

CANARIE designs, delivers, and drives the adoption of digital infrastructure for Canada’s research and education communities. CANARIE keeps Canada at the forefront of digital research and innovation, fundamental to a vibrant digital economy.

CANARIE’s roots are in advanced networking, and CANARIE continues to evolve the national ultra-high-speed backbone network that enables data-intensive, leading-edge research and big science across Canada and around the world. One million researchers, scientists and students at over 1,100 Canadian institutions, including universities, colleges, research institutes, hospitals, and government laboratories have access to the CANARIE Network.

CANARIE also leads the development of research software tools that enable researchers to more quickly and easily access research data, tools, and peers. In support of Canada’s high-tech entrepreneurs, CANARIE offers cloud-computing services to help them accelerate product development and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.

CANARIE, together with twelve provincial and territorial network partners, forms Canada’s advanced network alliance. This powerful digital infrastructure connects Canada’s researchers and innovators provincially, nationally, and globally to the data, tools, colleagues, and classrooms that are at the heart of prosperity in the digital economy.

Established in 1993, CANARIE is a non-profit corporation, with the major investment in its programs and activities provided by the Government of Canada.

For more information, please visit: www.canarie.ca .