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Case studies for connecting partner organisations

Here are some common examples of different types of partner organisation. Note that decisions on connecting a partner organisation, or whether State Aid is an issue, must be made independently of these examples. They do not constitute legal advice.

The common guiding principle used in the examples below is that while UIS can advise on Janet policy but it is typically not the decision maker on whether a partner organisation can be connected. That responsibility belongs to individual University institutions, whether a college, a department or a senior University committee.

Case 1 – Commercial business provides an on-site service

A commercial business is contracted by a University institution to provide a service or function – for example, a catering company has staff embedded in a department or college.

By providing a service, this commercial partner organisation is furthering the University's mission. It is decided that the provision of Janet connectivity would not provide a commercial advantage (State Aid) to the partner organisation, as long as the use of Janet is to enable the delivery of the desired function to the University and not used to provide commercial services to a third party.

Case 2 – Department creates spin-off commercial business

An academic department is to create a commercial spin-off company. The University staff will transfer to the private commercial company and no longer be University employees. For the foreseeable future, the staff will remain physically located within the department’s premises and pay a service charge for using a variety of facilities at the department.

The University institution decides that the spin-off company is furthering the University’s mission and may continue to use Janet. The University institution decides that the department is providing the company with a commercial advantage by providing a cheap ISP service via Janet, so mitigate State Aid issues with a service charge in line with commercial ISPs for its use of Janet. UIS continues to charge for the University institution’s POP switch at the normal rate.

After 12 months, the institution decides that the new company is no longer contributing to the University’s mission, but is to remain embedded within the University department. The spin-off company will no longer use Janet and will instead begin using a commercial ISP service.

Case 3 – Department providing a business incubation service

A University institution is to provide a business incubator service for local start-ups – both commercial and not-for-profit organisations.

Ordinarily it is not allowed to provide Janet access to commercial companies that aren’t furthering the University mission. In this case, it is decided that the University institution’s primary purpose is to offer incubator services, and acting as such it is furthering the University’s mission. It therefore provides Janet access to these start-up organisations.

It considers State Aid issues and whether to apply a service charge to any commercial start-up organisations using its facilities. The University institution considers IT security and what IT services the start-up organisations can or cannot access. The host institution plans to remove access to Janet as soon as the start-up is no longer receiving incubator services from the University institution.

Case 4 – UK charity resident in a University building

A UK charity is invited by the University to take up a permanent residence in a University building. The charity is managed independently of a college or academic department.

UIS receives instruction from the University that the UK charity is considered a partner organisation that furthers the University’s mission and whether it should have access to Janet. The University will instruct UIS whether to charge a commercial CUDN connection.

Case 5 – Colleges rents office space for commercial businesses

A University institution rents office space to a private company that is not involved in delivering the University’s mission.

The University institution rents accommodation to the external organisation solely to generate revenue and it decides the private company is not a partner organisation furthering the University's mission. It decides it cannot use Janet. Instead it provides access to a commercial ISP service via the CUDN and back-hauled over Janet.

Case 6 – A private company asks UIS for ISP connectivity

An external company, Kwik-Bikes Ltd, which is not involved in delivering the University's missions, and not located in University building requests, asks UIS for Janet access as the GBN passes its premises.

This request doesn't meet any requirement to access Janet or the CUDN. It is refused.

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