CEENET (Flying) Workshop on NREN Creation (Prague, Warsaw, Tartu) July 2002
The ‘flying’ workshop took place in July 2002 and was sponsored by OpenSociety Institute.
The NATO Science Program, with which CEENet has a lasting partnership, has developed an Internet infrastructure project, called the Silk initiative, to support Central Asia and the Caucasus. All of the OSI foundations in the region, having in mind that the long range goals of Silk coincide with their goals, participate in this project.
NATO is providing the initial funding, some political support, and a major stimulus to get things started. However, NATO has set 3 criterias before they will implement Silk in any of the countries. The criteria are partly in response to discussions with OSI as to how Silk could promote long term solutions for education/civic connectivity problems in the region.
Before NATO implements Silk in any of the countries:
- The country should have a registered national research and education network (NREN)
- The NREN needs to get a satellite license
- The NREN needs to have a governance structure, cost-sharing plan and long term development strategy.
Of these three, the second is the easiest. The first and third requirements are quite a bit tougher. Academic communities are now working to develop and register NRENs (the NRENs are already registered in Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and work is underway in Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan).
OSI and CEENet are interested in developing a training program for the 8 NRENs. The whole project includes developing an NREN Handbook (this project has just been done by CEENet) and providing training and exposure to working NRENs in Central Europe and the NIS (present workshop). A short trip to the NRENs in Prague (CESNet), Warsaw (NASK), and Tartu (EENet) has given the Central Asian/Caucasus NREN leaders a deep knowledge of the issues they need to be aware of, such as:
- governance, board structure and development
- cost-sharing, funding mechanism, accountability and transparency
- strategic partnerships with ministries of education, major ISPs.
The workshop had the the form of several lectures, followed by in-situ visits and panel discussions in 3 countries, where successful NRENs are operating since several years. These 3 countries have been chosen to give a variety of possible funding models: from half-commercial (NASK) and its less-commercial, sometimes competitor, (POL34) in Poland, via hybrid
commercial-association model of CESNET in Czech Republic to fully government funded EENet in Estonia. The countries were visited in order Czech Republic, Poland and Estonia, mainly due to travel cost effectiveness reasons.