Network Services FAQ


What is the Internet Buying Group?
The Internet Buying Group is a collective. Members of the collective are members of Cybera, Alberta’s not-for-profit organization responsible for the advanced computing and networking foundation for innovation in the province. Cybera acts as an internet traffic aggregator for the Internet Buying Group, which is open only to Alberta not-for-profit educational institutions, including K-12 school districts and postsecondary institutions. By aggregating traffic from multiple institutions, Cybera is able to leverage the increased buying power and get better pricing for the participating members.

What is the Peering Service?
Through direct connections with major internet exchanges, Cybera offers members a direct internet connection to major providers of content, such as Google, YouTube and FaceBook. When Cybera members sign up for the Peering Service, their internet traffic to these sites is split from their other commercial internet traffic. This reduces the volume of commercial traffic for members. The Peering Service can reduce data costs for members by 60%, on average, by directly connecting with the heavily visited internet sites mentioned above.

Is Cybera an Internet Service Provider (ISP)?
No, Cybera is not an Internet Service Provider, and never will be. Cybera is a not-for-profit, technical agency that is helping Alberta advance its IT frontiers. Cybera acts as a traffic aggregator for public sector organizations. By aggregating traffic from multiple institutions, Cybera is able to leverage the increased buying power and create efficiencies in this sector of society. The internet is now considered an essential foundation for innovation, and that is what Cybera is mandated to protect and foster.

Can I sign up for either the Peering Service or the Internet Buying Group, or are they a bundled package?

You can sign up to receive only the Peering Service. It is available to not-for-profit and public sector Cybera members in Alberta based on the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) students or employees of the organizations:

Less than 1,000 FTE — $50/month
1,001 – 10,000 FTE — $100/month
More than 10,001 FTE — $500/month

If you join the Internet Buying Group, you are also automatically signed up for the Peering Service. As a member of the Internet Buying Group, all of your internet traffic is sent to Cybera, who will split it into peered traffic and commercial internet. Therefore, if you are part of the Internet Buying Group, you will also receive the Peering Service provided to Cybera members.

What are the steps involved in joining the Internet Buying Group or Peering Service?
The first step is to talk to one of Cybera’s Project Managers. Your network technicians will be asked to complete a technical questionnaire so Cybera can assess your current configuration and determine what needs to be done to get your school district or division set up. Then, a meeting will be arranged with our technical team. The technicians will direct the process from that point onward. These services do not normally require the purchasing of any special equipment, as most school districts and post-secondaries have an appropriate router in place.

How long does it take to get set up?
Getting set up for the Peering Service or the Internet Buying Group takes 8 to 10 weeks.

What equipment will I need?
To join the Internet Buying Group, you will most likely not need any additional equipment. Instead of connecting to your Internet Service Provider (ISP), you will connect to Cybera, who will in turn split your traffic and direct the commercial portion of your traffic to the ISP.

To connect to the Peering Service, you must have a router in place that is capable of splitting your internet traffic between commercial Internet and the Peering Service. If you sign up for the Internet Buying Group, you do not need this router because all internet traffic will be directed to Cybera, which then diverts your traffic appropriately.

Do I need a router?
For Internet Buying Group you do not need a router. If you wish to only sign up for the Peering Service, you will require a router. There are a number of routers on the market that are compatible with this service and our technical team can help you with equipment selection.

If I am currently in a contract agreement with an Internet Service Provider, should I still become a Cybera member?
The answer to this question depends on a number of factors and merits a discussion with a Cybera project manager. Cybera is a neutral organization and can offer unbiased expert advice on how to optimize the efficiency of your internet access. There may be no financial advantage to joining Cybera, depending on the details of your contract with your current Internet Service Provider. However, Cybera has identified the opportunity for greater efficiencies for most public sector institutions, following an analysis of the rates and services offered to public sector institutions in Alberta. You may be able to decrease the amount of bandwidth you purchase from your commercial provider or obtain a more competitive agreement.

There may be non-financial reasons to join Cybera, such as access to the research and education network, called CyberaNet, as well as to expertise in emerging areas such as cloud computing and big data. Cybera is a collective that acts in the interest of the public and not-for-profit sectors in Alberta to ensure there is a healthy technical foundation and environment for innovation.

What is the duration of the Internet Buying Group contract agreement?
The duration of the contract agreement is one month. You can change the amount of bandwidth that you want to subscribe to each month.

How much does it cost to become a Cybera member?
Membership is divided into two categories, each with a distinct annual fee structure.

  1. Class A voting members have a significant research component in their mandate and invest in Cybera as Alberta’s link to the international system of research networks.
  2. Class B non-voting members subscribe to the objectives of Cybera. Class B membership fees are determined by the nature of their connection to CyberaNet, and the volume of service delivered.

How are membership fees levied?
Cybera is funded by a grant from the Government of Alberta, as well as network administration and membership fees. Cybera’s members receive an annual membership invoice in March or April of each year. Members in the Internet Buying Group also receive a monthly invoice that reflects their portion of the group buy and network administration fees. Members who are only signed up for the Peering Service receive a quarterly invoice for the network administration fee.