South Coast Telecommunications Alliance
Community Backbone Proposal

What is a community backbone?

While the Internet addresses the model for the Information Superhighway, 
the community backbone presents a locally-owned and designed structure 
for  the surface roads.  

      *	Metropolitan Area Network
      *	Locally-shared leased lines
      *	Mini model of the Internet
      *	Frame relay or SMDS core network

Why is it needed?

An Internet message sent between two local providers is currently routed 
across the country and back even though the providers' sites are less 
than a mile apart.  
      
      *	Increases capablility for avoiding network data overload
      *	Lower cost access to high-speed lines
      *	Community control  of its development
      *	Shared, not proprietary, access to outlying nodes (i.e. Lompoc, 
        Santa Ynez, Santa Maria)
      *	Links up network islands (i.e. RAIN, UCSB, SBCC, Silicon Beach, 
        local government, BBSes, local businesses, non-profits)

Potential Benefits

A community backbone increases the efficiency of local information 
exchange and provides shared lower cost access to high speed data lines.

      *	Regional "universal access" to information resources becomes more 
        economically feasible
      *	Robust regional network would make local traffic immune to 
        national Internet traffic jams
      *	Decreases the cost and improves the performance of remote access 
        for telecommuting 'knowledge workers' to attract those workers to 
        the region and/or encourage localcompanies to stay and make greater 
        use of workers at remote sites.
      *	Focus on a local backbone (as opposed to global) stimulates 
        communication and cooperative work between local businesses/groups
      *	Provides orderly network growth as usage demands increase

Who would benefit?

Those who need timely access to information and those who need to move 
large amounts of data quickly and accurately from one site to another..

      *	Communication between medical care workers and administration
      *	Social service check-in for disabled or elderly
      *	Telecommuters living in outlying communities
      *	Access to local community and govermental information
      *	Forum for community feedback
      *	Connect up local businesses with manufacturing, or accounting 
        departments in separate locations
      *	Graphics designers transmit finished work to clients
      *	High-bandwidth data transmission lines for development of 
        multimedia applications

Who would create/own it?

The optimal solution would be a cooperative venture shared and managed by 
the people who use it.

      *	Open to anyone
      *	Costs of service and management shared by participants
      *	Community hub sponsored by non-commercial entity
      *	Contract for management put out for bid
      *	Policy-making shared by a committee of participants

What is the role of SCTA in this?

To encourage awareness and discussion of the potential benefits of a 
carefully planned local backbone structure for our community and to 
catalyze collaboration between interested parties.

More Information?

This explanation was excerpted from a presentation given by Dave Oster at 
an SCTA meeting on Sept. 21, 1994.  For more information contact Dave at 
doster@silcom.com.


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