LARG*net is an Ontario incorporated non-profit organization operating on a governance principle of local autonomy that seeks:
To facilitate the provision of a cost effective, secure, managed single source networking solution outside of LARG*net members' internal networks;
To provide LARG*net's members with access, support and design assistance related to the Internet and other networks;
To support members' use of the networks for the development of new applications;
To encourage research into new uses and applications for high speed computer networks that will benefit all communities represented by LARG*net members.
As indicated by the mission statement, LARG*net's primary role is to work with various service providers to develop a communications network which interconnects member organizations in London and the surrounding region. Though members also have connections to the Internet through LARG*net, LARG*net is not meant to be just an Internet provider. Rather, it aims to advance the development of a community network - one in which member organizations in the region can interact at much higher bandwidth and by more direct communication paths - a regional intranet.
By interconnecting multiple organizations, LARG*net also hopes to enable members to share bandwidth and take advantage of any volume network connections that LARG*net might be able to negotiate. For example, all LARG*net member organizations have access to the Internet. LARG*net is able to increase the capacity of its connections to ensure that overall capacity is met. Similar bulk connectivity would be advantageous to organizations in London's surrounding communities. In the future, other services might also be provided by LARG*net for groups of members, such as secure connections or data backup.
LARG*net does not provide or develop specific applications - these are left to its members. LARG*net will facilitate interaction among members in order to provide opportunities for members to exchange ideas and to discuss potential interactions.
Structure and Governance
LARG*net is incorporated as a not-for-profit organization. Membership is open to any organization, public or private, from any sector. Governance is provided through a Board of Directors comprised of up to ten sponsoring members, two representatives from regular members and two individuals from the community at large. Members are either regular or sponsoring. Sponsoring members are entitled to a seat on the Board of Directors and assume financial risk for LARG*net. Any organization may apply to become a member of LARG*net which requires approval by the Board of Directors.
Originally funded through the Ontario Network Infrastructure Program (ONIP) in 1993, LARG*net was initially structured as a three-year government funded project valued at $2.2m. Primarily involving the University of Western Ontario, Fanshawe College and the London teaching hospitals, LARG*net set out to develop a community network to trial medical applications.
In 1996 when the government grant ended, LARG*net evolved into a network provider and began charging membership fees in order to sustain operations. In January 1998, LARG*net formally incorporated as a not-for-profit entity.