spacer.gif (841 bytes) North Central Kansas Community Network


News Search
Town Square
Youth Center
Senior Center
Community Economic Development


Local access Internet is made possible, in part, through a 1995 Community Development Block Grant awarded to the counties of North Central Kansas by the Kansas Department of Commerce & Housing, Community Development Division, Topeka, Kansas.



What is NCKCN?

NCKCN is a public/private partnership between the 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 the 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 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 is retained by the corporation to further its activities or is distributed to other Not-for-Profit companies selected by the Board of Directors.

What are the Mission and Goals of NCKCN?

The Mission of NCKCN is to make available the use of informational technology throughout North Central Kansas at the lowest price possible. 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.

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 the 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 the North Central Kansas Technical College (NCKTC). Currently, the 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 site, 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 in the 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 e-mail account. Faculty and students are given free individual e-mail 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. NCKCNs 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, technical problems arise that must be thought through with service delivery.

NCKCN also offers a online support site answer 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., Netscape Navigator, Microsoft Internet Explorer, etc.) should be referred to either the vendor or the manufacturer of the product.

Final Word

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 though participation 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 infrastructure are better prepared to meet the challenges of a changing economic environment.

We truly believe NCKCN is a unique blend of technology and social development that leads to individual growth and expansion of economic opportunity. We also believe the system is designed to permit each community to participate and to enjoy the fruits of cooperative ownership.

If you have support or general questions please email us at:
If you have any comments or questions about the NCKCN System, you can reach NCKCN by e-mail at:

This page last updated 01/16/12 01:32:30 PM
1996-2012 North Central Kansas Community Network