About Community Area Networks
A CAN is a high-speed communication network that is collectively designed and managed to promote innovation, competition, and economic viability in local communities. They most commonly serve local units of government, state government, educational institutions, libraries, health care and nonprofits.
Community Area Networks, or CANs, connect communities in new and innovative ways. They create a platform for community-based services to make the public sector more efficient and the private sector grow locally. They build connections amongst partners that are vital to a community’s health and growth, and contribute to the robust economic, social and educational future of your region. They make life better for the people who live and work in your area, and their members make that happen together.
Members pool their resources – existing infrastructure, technical expertise, financial support for capital investment – manage them jointly, and gain together a network and applications that better meet the needs of the people they serve. Since CANs are locally controlled and will “scale up” cost-effectively to backbone speeds that will support diverse organizations, widespread facilities, and advanced applications, they make good business sense today. And through coordinated regional communications infrastructure, a CAN in your area will help you be innovative, competitive, and economically viable today and tomorrow.
The success of CANs depends on three factors:
1. Growing a collaborative association of community partners who govern the network.
2. Building a robust optical fiber infrastructure for the community's shared region.
3. Sharing resources in new and innovative ways within the local community.
Increasing adoption of technology and services has made advanced networking essential to 21st century community anchor institutions. As these opportunities grow, bandwidth needs continue to double each year.
Fiber is the only technology that can affordably deliver fast network speeds today and continue to scale cost-effectively to meet our growing needs. Unfortunately, access to fiber is not universal. Gaps in fiber access disproportionately affect community anchor institutions in more remote areas. Today, access to fiber is critical.
Recognizing the importance of bringing communities up to speed in the Internet age, many programs have been developed at the federal and state levels. In the K12 education world, President Obama announced the ConnectED initiative in June 2013, establishing a goal to connect 99% of students to high-speed broadband within five years. To meet the objectives of the ConnectED initiative, each component of a district network needs to be upgraded to minimum bandwidth standards that ensure the delivery of high-speed Internet to students’ desks. Networks should also be designed to be future-proof to enable higher minimum standards in the future as bandwidth needs increase.
In response to the forecast growth in demand, The Federal Communications Commission created the Healthcare Connect program and recently modernized the E-rate program to allow it to continue to serve the evolving needs of schools and libraries and provide every student with access to the bandwidth they need. Amongst the changes, the FCC has increased the total amount of funding available for Internet connectivity. Recognizing the importance of fiber, both the Healthcare connect and the E-rate program have also updated their rules to maximize the fiber options available to community anchor institutions so they can obtain the most cost-effective and scalable solutions for both today and the future.
What is WiscNet?
WiscNet is a membership organization that provides research and education networking services to public and private higher education, K12 school districts, libraries, municipalities, and hospitals throughout Wisconsin. We connect people and strategies to solve common technology challenges, and to develop innovative solutions in support of educational, research, and community service missions.