Interconnection Policy

Executive Summary

This policy governs the interconnection of the ARE-ON network with other providers and networks.

Purpose of the Policy

The purpose of this policy is to regulate the interconnection of third party providers and networks to the ARE-ON network as necessitated by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and its Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP).


Policy Statement

Among the requirements stipulated by the NTIA for BTOP grant recipients is that of open interconnection. To promote the development of broadband throughout a state or region, NTIA requires that networks built with federal funds through the BTOP program permit interconnection with other providers and networks at select points within the network where excess capacity exists and as is commercially and technically feasible.

ARE-ON’s policy is to permit interconnection at any point where commercially and technically feasible and where sufficient excess capacity exists along the federally funded portions of its network; however, due to the nature of the funding of its network infrastructure built outside of the BTOP program, as well as contractual obligations that govern use of that infrastructure, certain limitations exist on interconnection and overall use of the ARE-ON backbone network.  

  1. Open interconnection exists on any of the dark fiber laterals constructed by ARE-ON through BTOP funds. Providers and other networks desiring interconnection may do so at designated existing splice points along the laterals where sufficient excess capacity (i.e., fiber optic strands) exists. ARE-ON is solely responsible for determining where the designated existing splice points and excess capacity exist.  Network traffic and use over strands provided through interconnection is unrestricted, although it must follow BTOP guidelines for nondiscrimination.  Anyone desiring interconnection must sign an interconnection agreement with ARE-ON and pay all fees associated with making and maintaining the interconnection.

  2. Open interconnection exists at any of the telecommunications huts constructed by ARE-ON through BTOP funds. Providers and other networks desiring fiber optic access into one of these huts for interconnection between ARE-ON and other providers at the huts may request access where sufficient excess capacity exists. Excess capacity may exist in the form of fiber optic strands or conduits into a hut, as well as space and power for equipment.  Colocation within an ARE-ON hut must meet specific engineering and technical specifications as defined by ARE-ON. Anyone desiring interconnection and/or colocation at an ARE-ON hut must sign an interconnection and/or colocation agreement with ARE-ON and pay all fees associated with making and maintaining the interconnection or colocation.

  3. Transport of telecommunications and networking data through the means of optical waves, circuits, or bandwidth across the ARE-ON backbone is generally supported for only non-commercial purposes within the scope and mission of ARE-ON as a publicly supported higher education entity. Such use is governed by limitations placed on the use of a public institution in the state of Arkansas to avoid competition with commercial service providers. In addition, such use may also be governed by limitations on use according to terms and conditions within contracts under which ARE-ON has acquired facilities such as fiber optic cable leases, colocation spaces, or other services. Transport across ARE-ON’s leased (i.e., IRU) dark fiber obtained through BTOP funding is not available for uses outside of the direct support of ARE-ON’s member institutions; such transport is limited by the excess capacity clauses within BTOP regulations wherein ARE-ON has acquired only sufficient capacity to meet its members’ needs over the term of the lease and has no excess capacity for other providers and networks. Anyone interested in acquiring access to dark fiber strands through lease or sale may be able to do so through the same providers through which ARE-ON obtained its leased fiber optic strands.