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What is NCKCN?

NCKCN is a public/private partnership between North Central Regional Planning Commission, a multi-county public planning and development organization headquartered in Beloit, and originally, The Information Age! (TIA), a privately held, for-profit company also located in Beloit.

How is NCKCN organized?

NCKCN was organized in December 1995, as a not-for-profit corporation in the state of Kansas and is registered as such with the Secretary of State. It is managed by a Board of Directors made up of officials of North Central Regional Planning Commission and the owner of TIA. It also possesses an Advisory Council whose members are selected from the communities choosing to become a part of the region's community network.

What is the difference between a Not-for-Profit and a For-Profit corporation?

The difference between a Not-for_profit and a For-Profit corporation lies not in the realization of a profit, but rather in how the profit generated is distributed.

The For-Profit Corporation is owned by an individual or a partnership and is operated with the expectation of a personal monetary return on investment. The Net Profit realized after Expenses are deducted from Gross Receipts/Sales and can be distributed to the owner or the partnership in any manner or amount chosen.

The Not-for-Profit Corporation is generally organized to address a specific range of community needs and is "owned" by no specific individual. A Board of Directors, whose members are not compensated for their time and effort in that capacity, governs such corporations. The Net Profit realized after Expenses are deducted from Gross Receipts/Sales and is retained by the corporation to further its activities or is distributed to other Not-for-Profit companies selected by the Board of Directors.

How is NCKCN structured to deliver service?

NCKCN is first and foremost a Wide Area Network (WAN) of computers joining together participating North Central Kansas communities and educational institutions as one regional community. As such, the original partnership of North Central Regional Planning Commission and The Information Age established the central computer hub of the WAN in Beloit for the approximate cost of $35,000. NCKCN links this hub to other NCK locations by locating associated equipment in those communities desiring service and by leasing either a 128K ISDN, Frame Relay or 56/64K telephone line from the specific community's telephone service provider. This line provides the direct tie that joins the local equipment with the hub. Once attached, communication is possible with all other sites also on the regional WAN.

NCKCN now interconnects much of the region with high-speed wireless backbones and, working with Cunningham Telephone and Cable, with high-speed fiber lines. This ties the regional WAN to the Internet and thus the world of information technology with the fastest most reliable service in the area.

NCKCN offers the only OC-3 Direct Tier 2 connection to the rest of the Internet in North Central Kansas and will continue to offer the highest possible speed and reliability available.

What services does NCKCN offer?

One of the primary benefits is access to the Internet and the associated services of E-mail, File Transfer Protocol (FTP), Virtual Domain storage and administration, Database storage and integration, etc. for individuals, businesses and institutions.

Businesses, municipalities and individuals possessing a Virtual Domain account, which is a higher cost access service, are provided individual specialized reports that detail the activity associated with "hits" on their Internet site. These reports are provided at no extra charge to the business, in fact, they are set up so the business can access them daily if they choose. This permits businesses to better manage their advertising efforts by measuring the type of visiting clientele, the number, the frequency and the area of interest.

Another benefit is the immediate tie that exists between secondary educational institutions joining the system and North Central Kansas Technical College (NCKTC). Currently, NCKTC is working with its staff to develop support programs that can be accessed by the various high schools about the region.

What are the costs to the individual or business user?

These are spelled out on the NCKCN services page, however, there are generally two classes of residential users and several classes of business users.

Residential and Business members pay a monthly low-cost fee to become members of NCKCN and we extend that service to all Cunningham customers as well.

Schools, libraries, governmental offices and other public access points receive a free subscription and one (1) free email account. Faculty and students are given free individual email accounts that can be used while on school property.

Non-profit institutions are delivered most services directly from NCKCN at no charge.

Do local subscribers have access to service support?

Yes, in a number of ways. NCKCN's toll-free technical support is accessible through contact with NCKCN itself either by telephone or through the WAN. Sometimes, depending on user equipment and local telephone service, techincal problems arise that must be thorught through with service delivery.

NCKCN also offers online support pages, of which answers most general questions for online users.

The responsibility of NCKCN is to see that the user's system, if it meets the minimum requirements, is configured to the point that a connection can be established between the user's computer and the WAN.

What is NCKCN not responsible for?

NCKCN does not assume responsibility for faulty or out-dated user equipment. Those problems should be referred to the business that sold the equipment or to the individual who installed the equipment.

Also, any problems that are specific to the browser software (i.e., Internet Explorer, Mozilla FireFox, Google Chrome, etc.) should be referred to either the vendor or the manufacturer of the product.

About NCKCN

NCKCN is short for North Central Kansas Community Network. It is a 501(c)3 non-profit affiliate of North Central Regional Planning Commission (NCRPC) and is an Internet service provider covering North Central Kansas. It is one of the earliest examples of how a wireless network can connect communities that are underserved by cable or fiber.

In 1995, NCRPC created NCKCN to address the growing need for local Internet access within the region. This initiative gained distinction by winning the 1998 HUD John J. Gunther "Best Practices" Award for the Kansas Department of Commerce & Housing, which partially funded the effort, and a 1999 Computerworld-Smithsonian Medal for NCRPC in the government category for innovative use of technology. Today, NCKCN provides high speed Internet access through a variety of fiber, wireless and dial-up technologies.

In summation, NCKCN is a community-based Internet service provider linking ten (10) cities to form a virtual community that geographically covers nine (9) counties. However, NCKCN is more than a simple Internet service provider, for the concept enables separate places to think regionally and to identify cooperative and collaborate ways to solve mutual problems and to share all resources.

Mission

The Mission of NCKCN is to make available the use of informational technology throughout North Central Kansas. Its goals are to specifically benefit those individuals and communities that find themselves left out of the technology revolution at the current time and thereby begin the immediate process of developing a cultural awareness of informational technology in small town, rural society. Broaden everyone's view of community and lessen the sense of rural isolation by heightening local awareness of the human and physical resources possessed by the whole of North Central Kansas that can be accessed to address local need. Broaden the application and use of informational technology within the education and business structure of North Central Kansas through demonstration and education.

Core Values

Nexus

• For many users, this website is an irreplaceable nexus of information and resources.

Cooperation

• We choose solutions which are in the best interests of the Community.

Knowledgeable

• Our knowledgeable, friendly staff is ready to help if needed.

Community

• Bringing communities together to help each other solve real-world problems.

Neat

• We take pride in our neatness - We keep things organized and provide information that is easy to understand and follow.

Goals

• To benefit those individuals and communities that find themselves left out of the technology revolution at the current time and thereby begin the immediate process of developing a cultural awareness of informational technology in small town, rural society.

• To braoden everyone's view of community and lessen the sense of rural isolation by heightening local awareness of the human and physical resources possessed by the whole of North Central Kansas that can be accessed to address local need.

• To broaden the application and use of informational technology within the education and business structure of North Central Kansas through demonstration and education.

Final Words

NCKCN is more than just an Internet service provider, it is a network of communities who share a common purpose. That purpose is to provide Internet service to their residents, as well as to expose their residents to current informational technology. Participating communities assume a role in the NCKCN system's construction and operation by first buying the equipment needed to initiate service in the community itself, then through particiapation on the advisory committee.

Participating communities are also asked to view the investment in equipment as being equal to that of any enhancement that might be made to the traditional infrastructure (e.g., water, sewer and streets). While the telecommunications industry has been historically relegated to the private sector, it has been heavily regulated and subsidized by the government through controls and protected service markets. Now that these controls are being removed, service and technology is being concentrated in the larger market areas while rural markets are made to wait. Past studies have shown that those communities who take personal control over this aspect of their infrastrucutre are better prepared to meet the challenges of a changing economic environment.

Testimony

"I have observed the demand for connectivity and dependence on reliable Internet access over the past 22 years that NCKCN has existed. During that time it has evolved into an intelligent design to meet the needs of rural Kansas customers whenever it is physically and fiscally possible. It is a not-for-profit entity and as such does the extraordinary effort for those relying on its services without investor pressure to do otherwise. I appreciate the undertakings of NCKCN Internet and the investment it has made into north central Kansas."

~ Doug McKinney, Executive Director - NCRPC

2017

August 1st

NCKCN redesigned website launched

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January 1st

NCK-WiFi launched its Ad Program

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2016

October 1st

NCK-WiFi website launched

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2015

Unknown Date

4th Generation 802.11E x4G begins

Unknown Date

4th Generation 802.11N/AC deployed, NCK-WiFi hotspots introduced

2011

Unknown Date

4th Generation WiMax 801.16d wireless begins

Unknown Date

1st Generation 802-11b wireless becomes Legacy

2010

Unknown Date

Dial-up services no longer available at NCKCN

2001

Unknown Date

Cable begins

1999

Unknown Date

1st Generation 802-11b wireless begins

April 12th

NCKCN receives the 1999 Computerworld-Smithsonain Medal

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1998

June 29th

NCKCN receives the 1998 HUD "Best Practice" Award

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1995

Unknown Date

Dial-up service begins

Unknown Date

NCKCN (Legacy) begins

Todd Tuttle

Systems Administrator

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Brett Beck

Wireless Technician

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Michael Draemel

Internet Application Technology Coordinator

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Doug McKinney

Executive Director - NCRPC

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Pepper Roberg

Office Manager

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Keegan Bailey

Administrative Assistant

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