The primary NTNC goals are:
- to provide a premier research network that connects the Northern Tier states, from current endpoints in Chicago, IL and Seattle, WA, to ensure that every Internet2 member in the Northern Tier has the ability to establish an appropriate high speed connection to a national or international aggregation point;
- to maximize network peering and interconnection opportunities between Northern Tier networks and other research networks and networking consortia;
- to provide a network which can serve as a foundation for regional economic development, as well as academic and educational development;
- to leverage intellectual, political and financial resources across the region to expand relationships with state and national leaders, attract greater federal interest, maximize opportunities for grant and contract support, and create greater leverage with vendors; and
- to enhance national security and network redundancy by establishing one or more interconnection points between NTNC and Canadian national networks.
The initial NTNC objectives were:
- to create NTNC networks and shared cyberinfrastructure in a manner governed by flexible acceptable use policies (e.g., be AUP free);
- wherever possible, to secure network backbones as “fiber assets” connecting NTNC member sites;
- in network construction, to build a regional locus of optical networking in the Northern Tier with core east/west links supplemented by redundant, “mesh connectivity” through redundant east/west links and specific north/south connections;
- to catalyze individual state activity in support of the NTNC mission and goals, by developing coordinated communication and marketing plans and seeking to integrate Northern Tier goals and objectives into state and local network goals; and
- to develop relationships with regional, national and international network organizations, particularly the Internet2, National Lambda Rail, the Pacific Northwest Gigapop, and the CIC and Northern Lights Gigapop.