About the Northern Tier
About the NTNC
The Northern Tier started out building a research and education network where a void existed in the national infrastructure. The effort was about people believing in the greater good, and a can-do attitude that people with a vision, and a cause, tend to have.
The early days were about dialog, supportive conversation, and sharing how others were successful, as well as, leveraging any and every piece of good luck that anyone could muster. It was about telling our collective and individual stories to congressional delegations, local politicians, and other interested parties. Learn more about the history of the NCTC from this 2023 Internet2 Community Exchange presentation.
The dialog was spent on telling the naysayers and the special interests groups this idea was not about them, but the collective good of the nation, region, and individual states. It was creating a tool that facilitated new ideas and collaboration between our universities, researchers, and educators anywhere in the world no matter the time and/or place.
We have been true to our mission and the individuals who started down this path, and our network is up and running. While we need to continue these efforts the major focus will now shift to why all the hard work to date was done.
Now we are on to empowering our collective research and education faculty to ask the bigger questions and engage in holistic research with colleagues. We are able to do this where ever we are in the world and not worry about time, place, or constraints placed on us because we were in the cyber-isolated part of the United States.
Now that the network is well established we can focus on the research and educational need of the Northern Tier region.
The Northern Tier Networking Consortium (NTNC) is a partnership formed by its members to address mutual interests in advanced networking facilities and shared cyberinfrastructure that can be layered on top of such facilities.
The Northern Tier Networking Consortium seeks to develop and sustain advanced networking capabilities and shared cyberinfrastructure facilities, in order to support the educational, research, and economic vitality of the Northern Tier region.
Regular voting membership is available to those entities which endorse the terms of this charter, agree to pay annual dues, and are accepted by a vote of the NTNC Steering Committee.
All tribal colleges are welcome to be non-voting members and encouraged to participate in all meetings and activities.
NTNC and Internet2 have agreed that Internet2 will support NTNC by providing various types of organizational service and assistance, described in detail in a separate Memo of Understanding. While this or another similar agreement remains in force Internet2 shall be considered a special member of NTNC (non-voting, no dues charged). As described below, the NTNC shall consider the addition of new members and/or new types of membership in the future.
A Steering Committee shall oversee the operation of the NTNC. The Steering Committee shall be self-governing and shall establish its own rules and other procedures consistent with this Charter. Voting members of the Steering Committee shall consist of one representative from each member state. The Steering Committee shall be led by Officers as described below.
The Steering Committee shall meet at least one time a year in person. Additional Steering Committee meetings may be called by the Chair of the Steering Committee or at the request of any three voting members of the Steering Committee.
A Steering Committee shall guide the operation of the NTNC between meetings. The Steering Committee shall consist of the following representatives:
- one representative from each state, determined by the NTNC members from that state;
- at least one representative from the following constituencies recognized by NTNC — universities, Internet2 gigapops (AKA connectors, aggregators), state IT organizations, and federal labs; and
- other members so designated on a permanent or temporary basis by the Steering Committee.
As long as NTNC is affiliated with Internet2 by the current or similar Memo of Understanding, Internet2 will also be represented on the Steering Committee by a special non-voting representative designated by Internet2.
Each year the voting members of the Steering Committee shall elect a Chair (President), Vice-Chair (Vice-President), and Secretary/Treasurer.
Membership, Types of Participation, and Dues
The Steering Committee shall be responsible for considering requests from entities wishing to join the NTNC. Following this consideration the Steering Committee will make a recommendation for final approval or disapproval of the request by the Steering Committee.
The Steering Committee shall be responsible for recommending annual dues levels, for final action by the Steering Committee. In general, this action should be finalized in January or February of the year, 10 to 11 months before the dues level is to take effect.
The Steering Committee shall be responsible for considering possible new types of participation and/or membership in the NTNC, as well as the requirements, responsibilities, and restrictions associated with a new participation and/or membership level, for final action by the Steering Committee.
Any NTNC member who for any other reason wishes to no longer participate in the NTNC should notify the NTNC Chair in writing within a reasonable time period.
Commitments on Behalf of Internet2 and Member Entities
Commitments made on behalf of the NTNC require prior approval by the Steering Committee.
Neither the NTNC officers nor Steering Committee may make commitments, financial or otherwise, on behalf of an individual member, except as it applies to specific participation within the context of NTNC actions approved by the Steering Committee.
Neither the Steering Committee nor any other NTNC member may make commitments, financial or otherwise, on behalf of Internet2 without Internet2’s explicit written approval, given in advance.
This charter shall be reviewed every year by mutual agreement by the Steering Committee (i.e., the designated representatives of the member entities).
Goals and Objectives
- to provide a premier research network that connects the Northern Tier states, from current endpoints in Chicago, IL and Seattle, WA, to ensure that every Internet2 member in the Northern Tier has the ability to establish an appropriate high speed connection to a national or international aggregation point;
- to maximize network peering and interconnection opportunities between Northern Tier networks and other research networks and networking consortia;
- to provide a network which can serve as a foundation for regional economic development, as well as academic and educational development;
- to leverage intellectual, political and financial resources across the region to expand relationships with state and national leaders, attract greater federal interest, maximize opportunities for grant and contract support, and create greater leverage with vendors; and
- to enhance national security and network redundancy by establishing one or more interconnection points between NTNC and Canadian national networks.
- to create NTNC networks and shared cyberinfrastructure in a manner governed by flexible acceptable use policies (e.g., be AUP free);
- wherever possible, to secure network backbones as “fiber assets” connecting NTNC member sites;
- in network construction, to build a regional locus of optical networking in the Northern Tier with core east/west links supplemented by redundant, “mesh connectivity” through redundant east/west links and specific north/south connections;
- to catalyze individual state activity in support of the NTNC mission and goals, by developing coordinated communication and marketing plans and seeking to integrate Northern Tier goals and objectives into state and local network goals; and
- to develop relationships with regional, national, and international network organizations, particularly the Internet2, National Lambda Rail, the Pacific Northwest Gigapop, and the CIC and Northern Lights Gigapop.
The NTNC started as a loose-knit, informal group interested in networking infrastructure in the northwestern area of the US, but is now in the process of becoming a more formal group, with dues-paying member entities, officers, and operating rules, and the ability to represent the collective interests of its members in activities related to networking and network infrastructure. The entities which have expressed some interest, to the extent of participating in one or more of the formational meetings include Internet2 members and other educational and governmental organizations in Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin.
The annual membership fee for the Consortium is $1,200. Inquiries may be directed to members of the NTNC Executive Committee.