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UEN Connection Policy

UEN Stakeholders

The Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN) is a consortium and partnership between public and higher education, state government, libraries and health care providers. UETN was established to, among other things, coordinate and support the telecommunications needs of public and higher education, public libraries, health care facilities, and other entities affiliated with the state systems of public and higher education as approved by the Utah Education and Telehealth Network Board. UETN provides network services working with private telecommunication providers, and other supported infrastructure (digital microwave, dark fiber, IRUs, etc.) where feasible. Education and library stakeholders desiring such services must enter into a Participation Agreement for Network Connectivity. Health care facilities must enter into a Participation Agreement to connect into the UETN network.

Purpose

The Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN) is responsible to coordinate and support the telecommunications needs of public and higher education, public libraries, certain health care entities, and entities affiliated with the state systems of public and higher education as approved by the UETN Board. (UAC 53B-17-105). In carrying out this responsibility, and, as funding allows, these guidelines define the criteria and processes for entities connecting to and utilizing the UETN wide-area-network (WAN) and Internet service.

Definitions

Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) – A law that mandates certain internet safety policy and filtering requirements for recipients of E-rate Program discounts for services other than telecommunications services.

E-Rate – The common term used in place of the Schools and Libraries Program, which is administered by USAC under the direction of the FCC, utilizing Universal Service Funds. The E-rate Program provides discounts to schools and libraries for eligible products and services.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – The U.S. government agency that regulates interstate and international communications and oversees the Universal Service Fund.

HIPAA – Health Information Portability and Accountability Act enacted by Congress in 1996.

HITECH – Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act enacted by Congress in 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) – Agreements with entities connected to UETN’s services, defining the costs, terms, and standards required to participate in UETN’s connection services.

Participation Agreement – An agreement that sets forth security, monitoring and network upgrade standards between UETN and its stakeholders.

Rural Health Care (RHC) Program – A Universal Service Fund program administered by USAC under the direction of the FCC, that provides reduced rates for broadband and telecommunications services for eligible health care facilities.

Technical Services Advocate – UETN staff assigned to advocate for the networking needs of UETN users. (https://www.uen.org/tech/techadvocate.shtml)

Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) – An independent, not-for-profit corporation created by the FCC in 1997 to administer the four universal service programs which help provide communities across the country with access to affordable telecommunications services.

Universal Service Fund (USF) – Money collected from telecommunications companies and dedicated to fulfilling the goals of universal service. Under the authority of the 1996 Telecom Act, the FCC created the USF as well as the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), the organization charged with administering universal service. Companies make contributions to universal service based on revenues from providing international and interstate telecommunications services.

Wide-Area-Network (WAN) – A data network that provides connections from within an eligible school or library to other locations beyond the school or library.

Authorized UEN Bandwidth Connections
Reference: Utah Code Section 53B-17-105 1(a)-(g)

The UETN Board has authorized the following entities to connect to the UETN network:

    1. Public Education (including K-12 schools and their administrative offices, alternative schools, charter schools, Regional Service Centers, Head Starts, and public education data centers)
    2. Higher Education (Utah System of Higher Education, Applied Technology Colleges, and Continuing and Extension Education)
    3. Public Libraries

Additionally, the UETN Board has authorized connectivity for the following entities. In this case, these entities are responsible for the one-time and ongoing costs associated with connectivity:

    1. Health care facilities (with an emphasis on those serving rural and underserved communities)
    2. Private K-12 Schools and Private Higher Education Institutions
    3. Department of Technology Services (DTS)
    4. Additional Public Education or Higher Education facilities (such as University museums, University botanical centers, etc.)

All other types of entities are not authorized to connect to the UETN Network unless and until UETN’s Board has authorized a network connection. Connection requests should be forwarded to the UETN Executive Director in a letter stating how the connection will serve a purpose in supporting Utah’s higher education, public education and health care initiatives and objectives.

UEN Connection Authorization

The UETN Executive Director shall present connection requests to the UETN Board for exceptions that require UETN Board approval.

Deadlines

E-Rate Eligible Facilities

  • August 15th – Requests eligible for E-Rate funding must be placed in writing to a UETN Technical Services Advocate by August 15th for implementation of the following year.
  • Requests after August 15th – For requests after August 15th, K-12 institutions must sign an MOU and are responsible for 100% of all costs until E-Rate funding can be obtained the following year.

Rural Health Care (RHC) Eligible Facilities

  • UETN will notify health care facilities of the annual application deadline by September 1 of each year. This information will be distributed via email and posted to the Utah Telehealth Network (UTN) website.
  • For requests submitted after the deadline, health care institutions are responsible for 100% of all costs until/if RHC funding can be obtained.

Changes to Building Plans and/or Building Relocations

Notification of changes to addresses or building plans after mid-August can typically result in additional costs to the institution, including not qualifying for USF funding and delays in project schedules.

UEN Connection Costs

    1. New K-12 Schools, Higher Education Campuses, Health Care Facilities and Rebuilds – Capital Costs - Institutions are responsible for the capital construction costs of installing fiber in new buildings. Design plans must be coordinated with UETN. UETN is not responsible for these capital expenses, and institutions should budget accordingly working with UETN (i.e., capital building plans, etc.).
    2. Facility Expansions and/or Relocations - UETN may assist districts, schools, health care facilities and other institutions with the relocation of fiber and network infrastructure for building expansions or relocations. Any requests for such assistance should be provided to a UETN Technical Services advocate by mid-June for the following year or to a UTN customer representative 8-12 months in advance. The details of any such assistance, including costs, are subject to approval by UETN and the requesting party, as set forth in a mutually acceptable MOU.
    3. One-Time Capital Equipment Costs and Ongoing Operational Costs (Public and Higher Education, Libraries, and Head Starts) - Subject to Legislative funding, UETN pays for the capital equipment costs and ongoing costs of connecting Pre K – 12 public schools and higher education, main campuses, and head starts.
    4. One Time Capital Equipment and Ongoing Operational Costs (Health Care Facilities) - Generally health care facilities bear these costs which may be covered in part by UETN subject to Legislative funding.
    5. UETN Connectivity - Connectivity costs paid by UETN must be on a UETN-negotiated contract.
    6. Filtering - UETN provides a statewide filtering license. Institutions are responsible for their own hardware costs. Because of CIPA and USAC requirements, PreK-12 schools and libraries must filter or they cannot be connected to the UETN network.

Capacity Standards and Upgrades

UETN Connection Costs
Subject to state legislative funding, UETN funds WAN and Internet connectivity to meet the needs of its stakeholders. UETN will work with all institutions to determine their bandwidth capacity needs and review them as necessary with the UETN Board. UETN will consider student enrollment numbers, State Education Technology Directors Association’s (SETDA) recommendations, FCC and USAC rules and procedures, scalability for future needs, along with the stakeholder’s level of network utilization to determine appropriate levels of service. This bandwidth will be provided through a leased circuit, dark fiber lease, digital microwave, or indefeasible right of use (IRU).

Education Facilities Bandwidth
Higher Education institutions serve as major network aggregations Points of Presence (POPs) and require additional network bandwidth funded by UETN. Other institutions such as school district offices, high schools and other data networking facilities that serve as points of aggregation to other schools may also require additional bandwidth. All facilities should work with UETN and their technology advocates to determine their local needs.

UETN stakeholders who choose to deploy additional bandwidth above what UETN will fund may do so at their own expense. These additional services must also be contracted through UETN.

Health Care Facilities Bandwidth
UETN will work with health care facilities to accomplish a five-year goal of increasing bandwidth to a minimum WAN Ethernet level standard at every location. As UETN contracts are renewed, UETN will work with these facilities to upgrade their connections (if cost-effective and available in their local area). If additional circuits or bandwidth (either leased circuits or IRUs) are requested, UETN will work with these facilities to determine the appropriate level of service and costs to stakeholders if additional funding required.

Public Libraries
UETN will work with the Utah State Library, city and county library systems, and individual libraries to determine minimum bandwidth needs and apply for USF funding. UETN will also help seek additional funding which could include grants and legislative funding requests to cover charges not covered by USAC funding. Costs for bandwidth provided by UETN for public libraries will be detailed and agreed to through a Memorandum of Understanding.

Other Facilities
UETN will work with other facilities (head starts, community centers, etc.) to provide sufficient bandwidth. Head start administration offices and other facilities that serve as aggregation sites may require additional bandwidth. UETN will work with those sites to determine the appropriate level of service.

Network Planning Standards
Facilities should be aware that upgrading services requires prior planning in order to conduct a procurement process and apply for USF funding. Requests for additional capacity should be made by August 15th of each year to a UETN Technical Advocate or UETN customer representative prior to project implementation, which can take up to 18 months, to ensure that all processes may be followed.

USAC Compliance

USAC, under the purview of the FCC, administers USF programs which provide discounts on Internet, WAN telecom, and internal connections to eligible schools, libraries and health care facilities.

The E-Rate program requires annual student enrollment and student eligibility information from the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Utah State Board of Education provides UETN information in determining annual E-Rate discounts. ALL school districts with data provided and validated by USBE’s “Fall Enrollment by Demographics” annual report must coordinate annually with UETN to update or add school profile data entry within the E-Rate programs E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC). For schools not participating in the NSLP program, alternative methods are available as described at www.usac.org/sl. Schools and libraries failing to comply with program rules, including providing information needed by UETN by November 30th of each year, may be required to pay 100% of all E-Rate eligible costs. Private schools participating in UETN and qualifying for E-Rate support shall not result in increased costs to public schools. UETN is required to comply with USAC program rules.

The Rural Health Care Program has eligibility requirements based upon type of health care facility and geography, as well as requirements for signed Third Party Authorization Forms and/or Letters of Agency allowing UETN to submit applications on behalf of eligible health care facilities. Health care providers must respond to UETN requests for information or signatures within the timeframe requested. Health care providers not complying in time may be required to pay 100% of all RHC eligible costs.

UETN Security and Monitoring

Entities connecting to UEN’s statewide Wide-Area-Network and Internet bandwidth services must provide security (firewall, etc.) to minimize threats to the network and data security. UEN may limit or disconnect such entities for security compromises or threats.

Service Interruption, Suspension or Reduction

Stakeholders connecting to UETN’s statewide Wide-Area-Network and Internet bandwidth services must enter into a Participation Agreement for Network Connectivity adhering to UETN’s security and network monitoring standards. They must also provide security (firewall, etc.) to minimize threats to the network and data security. UETN stakeholders may elect to contract with UETN to provide security management support and services as necessary. UETN may limit or disconnect stakeholder connections and/or services for security compromises or threats.

Health care facilities connecting into UETN’s statewide Wide-Area-Network and Internet services must sign a participation agreement, which includes adherence to security policies and processes that meet HIPAA, HITECH and other applicable regulations. In addition, connecting health care facilities are required to have a UTN-managed firewall at each facility and to work jointly with UETN to address security threats.

Service Interruption, Suspension or Reduction

UETN reserves the right to interrupt, suspend or reduce network connectivity when such action is necessary, at UETN’s discretion. UETN, when possible, will provide advance notice of any such interruption, suspension or reduction. There may be times, however, that such notice may not be possible. As soon as possible following the interruption, suspension or reduction, UETN will use reasonable efforts to contact the stakeholder in an attempt to resolve any problems and restore network service.

Approved by the UETN Board October 2019