Known as JANET 6, the government-funded resource will be universally available across the higher education sector, as well as to further education colleges.
It will be able to handle up to 8.8 terabits of capacity (roughly the same as 16 million photos) and cost £25 million to develop.
Jisc, which provides digital services to universities and oversaw the development of JANET 6, said the network would “increase the country’s global competitiveness” and address the demand for high-capacity connectivity by enabling “vast amounts of data to be exchanged in seconds”.
“We are delighted to have been entrusted with this investment, to develop and launch JANET 6,” said Jisc chief executive Martyn Harrow, adding that the project had been delivered “within budget and on time”.
“Our core mission is to advance and support the use of digital technologies in UK research and education for advantage. This leading edge network infrastructure…is a fundamental component in achieving this and will unlock new levels of ambition and collaboration on a national and international level.”
Tim Marshall, the executive director responsible for the JANET 6 programme, added: “The needs of the research and education communities are constantly evolving and we are developing flexible network architecture able to respond not just to these but to future needs.”
The switchover from the old network, SuperJANET 5, was marked by a launch event in London last night.