BANJA LUKA TRIP REPORT
Wednesday, October 29, 1997
Project Bosnia=s objective
in Republika Srpska is to create an independent press Intranet,
with eventual connection to the Federation Intranet, and
ultimate connection to the Internet. This objective furthers
the Project Bosnia=s
visionCto develop an
Internet-based legal information infrastructure for Bosnia, to
promote the free flow of information to enhance a rule of law.
After our Banja Luka trip on 28-30 October, we are confident an
Intranet for the independent media and press can be established
within several weeks.
The Banja Luka phase of Project Bosnia requires several steps.
First, is transportation of the server. Second, is finding a resident
location for the server. Installing, configuring and administering
the server is the third step. The fourth step entails training
the local press and media. The final step of the Republika Srpska
press Intranet is connecting the server and Intranet to the Internet.
The Sun Microsystems server will be shipped to Sarajevo either
by APO to SFOR Captain Van Breemen, who offered us this option
and agreed to receive it, or to Janet Garvey, USIS Mission Director
via diplomatic pouch from Tom Leary. Charles Rudnick in the Sarajevo
Central and East European Law Initiative (CEELI) office will work
with USIS and SFOR to transport the server to Banja Luka. An alternative
option would be to ship the server APO to a designated SFOR officer
in Banja Luka. This option is still under review.
After meeting with several different people in Banja Luka, all
of whom offered to house the server, we concluded that the ideal
location for the server is the International Press Club (IPC).
The IPC was established by the Organization for Security and Cooperation
in Europe (OSCE) before the elections. The IPC is centrally located
in Banja Luka and is easily accessible. All branchesof the media
are welcome at the IPC---the written press, television and radio
journalists. The Director of the IPC, Milos Solaja (Milos), indicated
that a zero tolerance for bias exists. In fact, the Federation
media and Turkish media have safely worked at the IPC in the past.
The IPC obviously supports a free and independent press.
In addition to the political environment, the physical layout
of the IPC is also ideal. The IPC has a main conference room,
in addition to several other Aspecial
rooms.@ Milos offered
to house the server in either room, leaving it to our discretion.
Although we didn=t see
the Aspecial rooms@,
one of them would be the best option. The main room is utilized
mainly for press conferences and therefore the set up of a server
and extra computer terminals may detract from any ongoing conferences.
However, the main room can certainly be used for training purposes.
Most importantly, the IPC has the technological capability to
house the server. The IPC has 70 phone lines available for dial-up
access, which is more than adequate. A local call within Banja
Luka is extremely economical which would serve the local press
connection to an Intranet, and a 30 minute phone call to Belgrade
would cost approximately 3.5 deutsche marks a minute.
One hesitation about the IPC is its embryonic existence and projected
longevity. Milos was confident, however, that the IPC is a long-term
institution as long as it is financially feasible to maintain.
INSTALLATION and MAINTENANCE
Several options exist for installing, configuring and administrating
the Sun server in Banja Luka. We would either contract with a
local student, the freeland representative of IRIS computer, or
the university computer center.
Igor Loncarevic, an IRIS representative, forwarded a proposal
on 4 November 1997 in response to our request at the conclusion
of a meeting with him. His proposal includes 1) setting up the
main Internet/Intranet server at the IPC; 2) setting up a router
at the IPC; and 3) setting up a LAN (including TCP/IP, NCP and
SMB protocols) at the IPC; 4) training; and 5) maintenance, administration
and support of the Intranet. The price is $40 per engineer per
hour and $2 a meter of cables. He estimates one eight-hour day
for the server, and another eight-hour day for setting up a router
for Internet connectivity, plus two hours per workstation. Thus
the local cost of server setup would be $320 -- $500 to be conservative.
IRIS can provide maintenance on a daily basis as part of regular
Internet operations. This would include system administration
and technical support for both software and hardware. Additionally,
IRIS stocks Internet equipment, including hosts, routers, and
modems, and can restore operations in any hardware failure. No
work-hour estimates have been provided yet for this activity.
If 0.5 hours per day is required for maintenance and support,
monthly support costs would be $600.
Other possibilities for technical support at the IPC include
the University Computer Center, which is willing to undertake
the task, or individual University students. Several of the university
students we interviewed appear to have the technical capability
to undertake the task..
There are three different levels of computer knowledge
among the independent press and media in Banja LukaCproficient,
moderate, and limited. A training program should address the three
Initial training should be focused on the proficient group. This
group of approximately 10 individuals in Banja Luka is reported
to be highly skilled with computer technology. We would train
this group as Awebmasters@
making them responsible for the Intranet server content. Training
of this small group should take less than 10 hours. This group
can then also assist in training the less skilled groups and provide
future support and continued training
The second group with moderate computer knowledge consists of
20 individuals. Their knowledge is limited to word-processing
and does not involve intra/Internet use. Therefore, specific training
for Intranet use is required. This training will take approximately
20 hours. Hopefully, some highly proficient users in this group
can eventually become webmasters and also provide future training
The third group consisting of 100 or more individuals in Banja
Luka and another hundred or so in northern Republika Srpska requires
instruction in basic computer use as well as Internet instruction.
This group will most likely require 40 hours or more of training.
The training cost for all three groups is not finalized and will
depend on whose services we employ. Three alternatives exist for
the training: IRIS, the University Computer Center, and individual
IRIS made us a training offer of $300 per attendant for 20 hours.
The $300 fee is for IRIS=
AInternet Consumer Course@
which fully covers basic Internet activities, briefly reviewing
Windows 95. This sounds ideal for our second group of users. However,
given the different proficiency levels of the three groups we
would need two additional courses tailored to our needs. IRIS
offered to arrange introductory courses for attendants with limited
or no computer training, as well as more advanced training for
web authors and publishers. The $300/attendant price should be
negotiable for the different courses, but we have not finalized
The University Computer Center has the space and some equipment
to provide training classes. They were enthusiastic to do so,
but no cost estimates have been exchanged. In addition, the Dean
of the Banja Luka Law Faculty, Rajiko Kuzmanovic, has already
given us four rooms to use either to house the server (not the
preferred option), place computer terminals, or utilize for training
The University students would be the most economical of the three
choices to provide training but they are without a facility. Combining
the efforts of the University students and the space in the IPC
is an obvious possibility.
Training costs appear modest, totalling a couple of thousand
dollars, for in-country services.
After all of the above steps are completed, an independent press
Intranet will exist in the Republika Srpska. The Intranet will
make email and Web information available to anyone with a modem-equipped
personal computer and dial-up access to the server. In order to
establish a broader Internet capability we will work with the
University Computer Center, ATV/OBN, and/or Republika Srpska PTT,
all of which possess potentially viable Internet connections.
The University Computer Center is expecting a planned commercial
satellite link to Norway, but financial restrictions limit the
Computer Center to 64k instead of a possible 2mb. ATV/OBN has
been working on a satellite uplink intended for television that
we may be able to Apiggyback@
on. A third option is Republika Srpska terrestrial leased lines
to Sarajevo arranged through the PTT or the EU.
An alternative, but unlikely long-term option is a satellite
link through an international organization, which doesn't require
permission from the "five essential authorities." The Office of
the High Representative (OHR) currently has the technological
capability to provide Internet connectivity over a UHF link from
Banja Luka to Sarajevo, and over a satellite link from Sarajevo
to Brussels. According to Dean Perritt, the technical personnel
at OHR are agreeable to doing this in principle, but agreement
from Sarajevo is needed, particularly from High Representative,
Johan Van La Moen.
Before any of the planned satellite links can be established,
with the exception of the OHR option, there are several legal/political
hurdles. According to Igor Loncarevic of IRIS, domestic Internet
providers must obtain permission from "five essential authorities".
The five include: Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior Affairs,
Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Information, and Telekom
of Srpska (the "natural owner of telecommunications monopoly").
Due to the volatile political nature in the Republika Srpska
and the split between Banja Luka and Pale, it is unclear where
permission must come from. It currently appears to come from Pale,
however this may change. Our meeting with Milka Tosic, Plavsic's
Media Advisor was very promising. Milka and her group seemed very
enthusiastic about Project Bosnia and the establishment of a free
and independent press Intranet in the Republika Srpska, particularly
in Banja Luka.
In order to establish Internet connectivity through any of these
intermediaries, two pieces of equipment would be required at the
IPC: a router (~$2500) and a CSU/DSU (~$1500). Those devices would
be connected to a leased line which would terminate at the Internet
intermediary. Prices for leased lines in Banja Luka run about
$500 per month, reportedly. An alternative to a leased line is
an 802.11 wireless connection, which does not require a license,
and which OHR routinely uses in country. Total cost would be about
$15,000 for the equipment, assuming clear line of sight is available
between IPC and the Internet intermediary. Setup costs for the
router, CSU/DSU, leased line or 802.11 link would run $500-$1500,
based on the IRIS estimates and the OHR reports.
The Internet intermediary is likely to charge a fee for Internet
access, and, in the case of the University Computer Center, contemplates
the project buying some additional satellite bandwidth.
The personnel in the ABA CEELI office in Sarajevo are agreeable
to handling local contacts in support of the project. This will
become easier when the CEELI office in Banja Luka opens in a month
or so. Engineering undergraduate and graduate students and MBA
candidates at Illinois Institute of Technology have been added
to the Chicago-Kent law-student team to deepen the capability
to manage technical aspects of the project. April Major, from
Villanova, plans another trip to Bosnia in early 1998, and has
the capability to supervise server and router setup. One more
trip by a Chicago-Kent/IIT team is desirable to assure intranet
functioning, and two-week externships in country in the Spring
for four students should complete Internet connectivity, assuming
satellite connections have been established by then, or that OHR
access has been agreed to.
Henry H. Perritt, Jr.
Dean and Professor of
IIT Chicago Kent College
(312) 906-5010, fax (312)