The European Commission funds Latin American Research Networking

June 4, 2003

Brussels, 3 June 2003

Within the framework of the @LIS programme, the European Commission signed today a €12.5 million contract with the non-profit organisation DANTE (Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe) for the creation of a Latin American intra-regional research networking infrastructure and its interconnection to the pan-European research network, GÉANT. The European Commission will finance 80% of the project, the remaining 20% coming from contributions made by the Latin American partners.

The project ALICE (America Latina Interconectada Con Europa) puts into practice the declaration made during the last EU-LAC Summit held in Madrid in June 2002, where Heads of State and Government of both regions agreed that "scientific research and technical development are fundamental elements in our relations and are an essential condition for the successful insertion of countries into a globalised world. It is convenient to share knowledge, technology and information, taking advantage of the connectivity of infrastructure and to encourage all peoples to gain universal access". This constitutes a step towards a broader co-operation for the development of a World Wide Research and Education Network, as proposed in the Commission Communication (1) on the UN World Summit on Information Society, to be held in December 2003 in Geneva.

Erkki Liikanen, European Commissioner for Enterprise and the Information Society said: "This project will provide huge improvements in infrastructure, which are of benefit to everyone concerned. For the first time, Latin American countries will have the high-speed Internet connections necessary for effective research collaboration amongst themselves, as well high-speed connectivity to researchers based in Europe."

ALICE represents a significant move towards the development of a research networking infrastructure across Latin America and with Europe. The initiative will accelerate the development of the Information Society in Latin America, providing an advanced data communications infrastructure to allow Latin American researchers to collaborate more easily in advanced international research projects. By overcoming the current limitations of international research collaboration within Latin America and towards Europe, the objective is to foster research and education partnership and advancement within and between both regions.

An international and open tender for the connectivity will be launched by DANTE imminently. As a result, the new research networking infrastructure bridging the European Union and Latin America is expected to be operational by the beginning of 2004.

The ALICE project will last until April 2006, after which time the Latin American Co-operation of Advanced Networks, CLARA, will ensure the sustainability of the intra-regional Latin American research network and its direct continuous connection to GÉANT.

ALICE will be coordinated by DANTE and partnered by the National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) of the 18 Latin American @LIS beneficiary countries and of 4 European countries. ALICE will also be partnered by CLARA, the Latin American Co-operation of Advanced Networks, DANTE's counterpart organisation in the region. Two European Commission services have worked together to make this contract possible: the EuropeAid Co-operation Office and the Directorate General for Information Society [Table and further information]

DN: IP/03/790 Date: 03/06/2003

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