Frequently Asked Questions

EAGLE‑Net Overview

What is EAGLE‑Net Alliance and what is its purpose?

EAGLE‑Net Alliance (Educational Access Gateway Learning Environment Network) is an intergovernmental entity which operates a Colorado cost-sharing cooperative that offers a fully collaborative and secure high-speed broadband network. EAGLE‑Net is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of representatives throughout the state representing educational, state and local governmental entities.

What kind of entity is EAGLE‑Net?

EAGLE‑Net Alliance (EAGLE‑Net) is an intergovernmental entity, formed in September 2010. The Colorado Constitution and state statutes allow for two or more governmental entities to enter into a contract called an intergovernmental agreement to create a separate entity in order to provide any function or services that each have the authority to undertake independently. The initial entities that formed EAGLE‑Net were the Centennial Board of Cooperative Educational Services and the Northeast Colorado Board of Cooperative Educational Services. Soon after, the Town of Castle Rock and Adams County School District 27J became members. EAGLE‑Net has since grown to include 40 local government entities from all over the State of Colorado, and that number is expected to grow going forward.

What is the difference between EAGLE‑Net Alliance and the EAGLE‑Net network?

EAGLE‑Net Alliance is the legal entity that is the recipient of a NTIA BTOP grant. The infrastructure grant to build the EAGLE‑Net network, a middle mile broadband network, was awarded in September 2010 and is scheduled for completion by August 2013.

Is EAGLE‑Net a communications services provider?

No. EAGLE‑Net is not a communications services provider and will not offer commercial or residential services, like for example, Comcast and CenturyLink.

Is EAGLE‑Net only focused on education?

No. EAGLE‑Net Alliance is an intergovernmental entity offering its services to K-12 school districts, colleges, libraries, local governments, the healthcare industry, public safety communications entities, and other community anchor institutions.

What is an intergovernmental entity?

An intergovernmental entity is an independent governmental entity created pursuant to Colorado statute. Colorado law authorizes two or more governmental entities to enter into a contract called an intergovernmental agreement to create a separate entity in order to provide any function or services that each have the authority to undertake independently.

How is EAGLE‑Net organized?

EAGLE‑Net’s foundational document is the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) that all members must sign to become a member of this intergovernmental entity. The IGA and EAGLE‑Net’s bylaws are somewhat analogous to the charter for a home rule municipality. Pursuant to the IGA and bylaws, EAGLE‑Net is governed by a Board of Directors that represents EAGLE‑Net’s member jurisdictions. The original Board was appointed in the original IGA, and new directors will be elected from among EAGLE‑Net’s members beginning in August 2013. The Board of Directors meets monthly.

What is membership?

As a cooperative, EAGLE‑Net is able to procure and distribute services on behalf of the entire membership for cost savings shared by all. Membership also grants access to research and education networks that are not currently available via the commodity Internet.

EAGLE‑Net has been described as a ‘membership cooperative’ – what does that mean?

EAGLE‑Net is able to provide services on behalf of its entire membership for shared cost savings. Members of the EAGLE‑Net cost-sharing cooperative may receive benefits including competitively priced broadband services and other value-added member services such as remote data center, data warehousing, and virtual machine hosting. To become a member of EAGLE‑Net’s cost-sharing cooperative, governmental and quasi-governmental entities must first sign the EAGLE‑Net IGA, which makes them eligible to purchase EAGLE‑Net services. Membership does not commit a member to purchase any specific level of service; it simply makes member jurisdictions eligible to acquire whatever level of service they deem best meets their needs.

What does “offering a secure high speed broadband network to community anchor institutions” include in terms of infrastructure and service?

The project includes the middle mile backbone transport allowing for access to the commodity Internet and advanced education and research networks, and enables a statewide on-net network.

What type of ISP is EAGLE‑Net?

  • EAGLE‑Net provides ISP services along with access to other advanced research and education networks.
  • EAGLE‑Net also provides government to government and government to education transport services, in the form of private cloud connections.
  • EAGLE‑Net is a fully recognized ARIN ISP with its own transport neutral IP addresses.

What services does EAGLE‑Net offer?

  • EAGLE‑Net offers high speed broadband Internet access with speeds from 20 Mbps – 1 Gbps to community anchor institutions.
  • Based upon scalability built into the network design, EAGLE‑Net can offer speeds greater than 1 Gbps when needed.
  • EAGLE‑Net will also offer connectivity and transport on its middle mile network to private sector providers of communications services.

If EAGLE‑Net is providing the middle mile network access, who is providing the last mile access?

Local wire line (such as local telephone companies and cable operators) and wireless communication services providers serve as the last mile providers. The EAGLE‑Net middle mile network will enable excess network capacity to be accessible by last mile providers. This will create opportunities for last mile providers to partner with EAGLE‑Net Alliance to increase the capacity of the communications services they are able to provide to their residential and business customers on a local level.

Where will EAGLE‑Net offer services?

  • EAGLE‑Net currently provides Internet service to approximately 30 school districts, and will offer these services to all of Colorado’s 178 public school districts by August 2013.
  • EAGLE‑Net will connect approximately 234 community anchor institutions in the State of Colorado during the grant period. These include: 178 school districts, 26 libraries, 15 community colleges, 12 Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), 3 higher education institutions.
  • EAGLE‑Net’s expansion plan will be made available on a project segment by project segment basis as EAGLE‑Net begins expansion into individual communities and regions. Please follow our progress here.

 

EAGLE‑Net and the $100 million grant

What is ARRA/BIP/BTOP and Broadband Recovery?

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 appropriated $7.2 billion and directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) to expand broadband access to unserved and underserved communities across the U.S., increase jobs, spur investments in technology and infrastructure, and provide long-term economic benefits. The result was funding of the RUS Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) and the NTIA Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). BIP makes loans and grants for broadband infrastructure projects in rural areas. BTOP provides grants to fund broadband infrastructure, public computer centers, and sustainable broadband adoption projects. Of the $7.2 billion, $4.7 billion was allotted to the NTIA to award grants. The remaining $2.5 billion went to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make loans and grants to companies building out broadband infrastructure in rural areas.

What is the value of the BTOP award?

The NTIA divided the awarding of its BTOP funding into two rounds. Round 1 included $1.2billion in funding, which was awarded between December 2009 and April 2010. In Round 1, EAGLE‑Net Alliance applied and did not receive any funding. In Round-2, EAGLE‑Net Alliance submitted another application for connecting Colorado’s middle mile and was awarded a $100.6 million grant from BTOP in September 2010.  An additional $35 million in other cash and in-kind donations was also received from other private sources.

What is the immediate impact of this award?

EAGLE‑Net will bring high-speed broadband educational services to students all 178 public school districts in Colorado.  Services that are enabled and enhanced by this connection include high definition interactive video conferencing, virtual field trips, online assessment opportunities and other applications using connectivity not currently available to schools in Colorado.  EAGLE‑Net will also offer excess broadband capacity to local and rural carriers for middle mile access to Tier 1 ISPs of their choice for distribution into their local community.

What are EAGLE‑Net’s responsibilities with respect to the $100 million grant?

  • To design and deploy the EAGLE‑Net middle mile broadband infrastructure, and deliver the broadband capacity and Internet services to community anchor locations in accordance with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations.
  • To make excess capacity on the network available for connection and use by private sector or other parties in an open, non-discriminatory and competitively neutral manner.

How is EAGLE‑Net recognized in Colorado?

All local governments in Colorado – municipalities, counties, special districts, and intergovernmental entities like EAGLE‑Net, must file their organizational documents and be recognized by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA). EAGLE‑Net is listed as an intergovernmental entity on the DOLA website.

How is EAGLE‑Net being held accountable?

  • EAGLE‑Net is accountable to multiple grant award conditions imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce. These conditions are designed to provide open, public and transparent reporting of project activities.
  • EAGLE‑Net must also adhere to NTIA guidelines and regulations under the BTOP program, and federal regulations relating to the use of federal funds.
  • EAGLE‑Net’s management is accountable to the EAGLE‑Net Board of Directors, and to its members.

Is EAGLE‑Net governed by local, state or federal law? 

As an intergovernmental entity created pursuant to Colorado law, and as the recipient of a federal grant, EAGLE‑Net is subject to local, state and federal requirements. At the foundation level, EAGLE‑Net is governed by and responsible to the individual governmental entities that comprise its membership – the school districts, cities, towns, boards of cooperative educational services, higher education institutions and others. EAGLE‑Net must retain an independent auditor to conduct an annual each fiscal year (EAGLE‑Net’s fiscal year begins July 1st of each year). Audited financial statements are initially submitted to the EAGLE‑Net Board of Directors for review and then filed with the State. 

EAGLE‑Net is also the recipient of a federally funded $100.6 million Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program (BTOP) infrastructure grant through the United States Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). With respect to these federal grant funds, EAGLE‑Net must report the status of the grant and its compliance with the federal rules related to that grant to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which is the agency that manages the EAGLE‑Net BTOP grant. EAGLE‑Net maintains regular communication with the NTIA regarding the grant project, and submits quarterly and annual reports to the NTIA on the progress of the project’s implementation.

How will EAGLE‑Net procure goods and services?

EAGLE‑Net will procure goods and services in accordance with its Procurement Rules and Procurement and Contracts Manual. Vendors can sign up on EAGLE‑Net’s web site to be considered as a potential vendor. Please see the procurement rules and manual for more information.

Will EAGLE‑Net be building new network facilities in parts of the state where similar facilities already exist?

  • EAGLE‑Net’s obligations under the grant are to leverage existing capital facilities wherever reasonably possible. This means that if there is network infrastructure available from an existing provider that can be purchased or leased in a transaction that would qualify as a capital expenditure, and assuming that an agreement can be reached for a reasonable rate, EAGLE‑Net will seek to develop these parts of the network through capital agreements with infrastructure owners.
  • If there is no comparable network infrastructure available, or if existing network facilities cannot be acquired at reasonable rates in a capital transaction, EAGLE‑Net will be building new middle mile network facilities.
  • The references to “capital” transactions are important because the federal grant funds can only be used for capital expenditures. This means that if an existing facilities owner is only offering to sell EAGLE‑Net “lit” services over existing fiber, EAGLE‑Net could not enter into an agreement using federal capital funds, because acquisition of lit service is considered an operational, as opposed to capital expenditure. If an existing facilities owner is offering a sale, an indefeasible right-to-use agreement or a long term capital lease for existing fiber, EAGLE‑Net can expend grant funds on these types of transactions.

What is expected of EAGLE‑Net once the grant is complete in August 2013?

  • EAGLE‑Net Alliance is designed to be sustainable. After activating the community anchor sites, EAGLE‑Net Alliance will manage, operate and support the network and its services.
  • EAGLE‑Net will continue to provide middle mile broadband Internet services and other application services to: Educational institutions, Libraries, Local and state government agencies,The healthcare industry, Other carriers/private sector providers

Will there be future opportunities to leverage federal, state or private foundation funds for EAGLE‑Net?

Yes. EAGLE‑Net will be looking to work with any available state or federal programs, and grants from private foundations, to make the most efficient and effective use of the network and EAGLE‑Net’s ability to provide high speed broadband at reasonable prices.

 

EAGLE‑Net’s relationship with service providers

How is EAGLE‑Net going to work with existing Internet/broadband/wireless/telephone carriers that serve the communities in which EAGLE‑Net is entering?

EAGLE‑Net will make excess broadband capacity available to local providers in accordance with NTIA requirements and FCC non-discrimination and interconnection practices. These are often referred to Open Access and Network Neutrality requirements. With improved middle mile broadband service, last mile providers will be able to offer upgraded capacities to residential and business users.

Will EAGLE‑Net’s services be made available to residential customers and businesses in local communities?

No. EAGLE‑Net is not structured to offer Internet broadband services to residential or business entities. Moreover, the terms of the federal grant are for middle mile community anchor institution connections and EAGLE‑Net cannot use this funding for last mile services.

EAGLE‑Net and Colorado schools

How will schools use the middle mile access brought to them by EAGLE‑Net in their classroom settings?

  • EAGLE‑Net services will facilitate access to enhanced education services through online and interactive distance learning via broadband video conferencing, statewide standardized testing and access to interactive programs.
  • Some examples of collaborative programs that are available on research and education networks (such as Internet2) are:
    • Interactive reading and literacy programs that automatically gauge a student’s performance and retention
    • High speed links to advanced placement (AP) courses that qualify for high school and college credits
    • Controlling a telescope and viewing the night sky in the Southern Hemisphere during school hours
    • Multi-site collaborative projects, theater and musical performance all running simultaneously
    • Mapping the ocean floor via remote control robotics surveying tools

Once EAGLE‑Net makes broadband available to school districts, will the schools be able to connect into it right away?

  • Yes. Internet services will be available at cost sharing rates for additional bandwidth.
  • In accordance with the federal government’s E-Rate program, EAGLE‑Net will also respond to RFPs and Form 470 requests to bid on the delivery of priority one services.
  • In addition, if a district is looking for additional bandwidth initially outside of the E-Rate supported services it may receive, EAGLE‑Net can provide these services as well.