Brussels, 03 Sep 2004
The European Commission announced on 2 September that it will contribute 93 million euro over four years to the upgrading of Europe's world-leading communications network for research and education, GÉANT.
The project, now funded under the EU's Sixth Framework Programme, will aim to improve high-performance services, giving researchers their own 'wavelengths' from Iceland to the Caucasus. The upgrades will also include end-to-end connectivity to give scientists direct access to GÉANT and Europe's national research networks, as well as a mobility and roaming service to enable researchers to stay connected to GÉANT, wherever they are.
'Providing scientists across the EU with a state-of-the-art communications architecture, delivering performance far superior to the services offered by today's commercial Internet, enables the EU to increase its ability to innovate and compete - an ability that is in turn essential to its productivity and growth,' said Olli Rehn, the European Commissioner for Enterprise and Information Society.
'Industry take-up of GÉANT's current architecture and design is encouraging, and is paying dividends. From the first quarter of 2005, the upgraded GÉANT network infrastructure will further expand the supply of advanced communication technology services, and should prompt a further wave of information and communication technology innovation, leading to a more efficient and cost effective provision of Internet services to citizens,' Mr Rehn added.
GÉANT and its partners the National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) provide the research communications backbone infrastructure for 34 countries in Europe, enabling researchers from these countries to collaborate like never before by pooling their ideas, data and computer power.
GÉANT already supports advanced collaboration tools employed by the European Space Agency (ESA) and has played an important role in stimulating take-up of Internet protocol IPv6, which is bringing advanced Internet services to an increasing number of people.
'The upgraded GÉANT network, coordinated by DANTE [Delivery of Advanced Network Technology], will use a 'hybrid' architecture that seamlessly combines the best technology from the worlds of telephony (switching) and the Internet (routing),' explained the European Commission.
The European Commission contribution is estimated to be less than 50 per cent of the total budget for the project. Participating countries will provide the remainder.
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