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This notice was sent to the InCommon Executive at all participant organizations on October 18, 2016

Dear InCommon Executive Contacts:

We, the InCommon Steering Committee, are writing to you about some important developments for the future of InCommon, in particular, and more generally in support of Trust and Identity. After a thorough review of the needs of the trust and identity community, including a series of guided conversations involving community leaders, the InCommon Steering Committee has approved a modest fee increase that will be reflected in your 2017 invoices, which will be issued on November 1.

Please note that, for 2017, there are three categories of  fee  increases:

  1. InCommon Participants that are Higher Education or Sponsored Partners.
  2. InCommon Higher Education Participants that subscribe to the Certificate Service as of November 1, but do not yet use the Federation (these organizations will see a smaller increase).
  3. Research Organizations (these organizations will see no increase for 2017).

Allow us to explain the need and the process used to arrive at this decision.

In January 2016, Internet2 established the division of Trust and Identity Services and hired Kevin Morooney into the role of Vice President for that division. Earlier this year, Kevin led groups of community leaders through a series of guided conversations to assess the trust and identity needs of the community and the capacity of both Internet2 and the community to deliver on those needs in the face of increasing urgency.  

These conversations focused on sustainability for both the InCommon trust federation and the Internet2 TIER Program (Trust and Identity in Education and Research), which includes an open-source identity software suite and a set of common campus practices that integrate seamlessly with the InCommon Federation. You will find TIER information and links to blogs and other information on the Internet2 website, including a  blog post from Klara Jelinkova, chair of both the InCommon Steering Committee and the TIER Community Investor Council, and an overview of the TIER program.

Some overarching, common themes emerged for both InCommon and TIER:

  • Internet2/InCommon/TIER have a leadership position in US trust and identity. There is a desire to maintain this position, even in the face of considerable threats.
  • The trust and identity solution set(s) for higher education remain sufficiently unique such that we need to continue to develop these solutions.
  • The InCommon Federation and TIER Program are highly dependent upon one another.
  • Sustained engagement with both executive and technical community leadership will be necessary for a vibrant trust and identity set of capabilities and vetted campus and partner deployment strategies.
  • Services and new capabilities require multiple funding strategies that best suit their contexts.

The InCommon Steering Committee determined that a fee increase in the upcoming billing cycle is necessary to close critical gaps in federation operations and support Shibboleth development. This nominal fee increase is the first since 2012. Invoices with the new annual fees will be sent in November 2016 for the 2017 calendar year. We have published the new fees schedule at www.incommon.org/fees2017.html and an FAQ on the InCommon wiki.

This is the first step toward a financial model that will allow InCommon to provide the required services and support for the community. InCommon and federated identity have become critical infrastructure for many of our Participants. We need to ensure that the resources available will allow InCommon to operate and thrive in such an environment. In addition, TIER will allow us to provide software that is easier to configure and maintain, as well as implement agreed-on campus practices to improve interoperability.

Conversations will continue this year and throughout 2017, involving community leaders and key constituents, as we develop a financial model that is aligned with these requirements. We expect that this will mean additional fee increases ahead to achieve sustainability and ensure the capacity to meet the identity and access management needs of the community.

We know this will generate questions and discussion. Toward that end, we will provide additional communications, including a webinar on Monday, October 31, at 4 pm (ET), and a community comment period that will run through November 11. We encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities to provide feedback on both this fee increase and the general direction that we have outlined above.

If you are attending the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference, there will be opportunities to talk with staff members and members of the InCommon Steering Committee. See a consolidated list of Internet2-wide sessions, including Trust and Identity, at www.internet2.edu/news-events/events/internet2-educause/ .

This is an exciting time to be involved in the trust and identity community, with the development of TIER, our participation in the global eduGAIN service, and a flurry of activities and recommendations of working groups. Thank you for being a part of and contributing to its growth and success.

Sincerely,

The InCommon Steering Committee

Klara Jelinkova, Rice University. Chair
Brett Coryell, Northern Illinois University

Dennis Cromwell, Indiana University
Michael Gettes, Penn State
Ted Hanss, University of Michigan
Susan Kelley, Yale University
Michele Norin, Rutgers University
Sean Reynolds, Northwestern University
Celeste Schwartz, Montgomery County Community College
Pankaj Shah, Texas LEARN
Dave Vernon, Cornell University
Ann West, Internet2
Melissa Woo, Stony Brook University

With:

Dave Gift, Internet2
Ana Hunsinger, Internet2
Kevin Morooney, Internet2

PS: Internet2 will also be communicating to organizations that are using eduroam Global WIFI Roaming for Academia, under separate cover. Look for that in early November.

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