Australia's Academic and Research Network (AARNet) has launched its third-generation, high-capacity research and education network, AARNet3.
The network will provide high-speed broadband services to Australia's universities, including those in regional and isolated areas.
AARNet CEO Chris Hancock said the third-gen network is the start of an exciting era and is about demonstrating the opportunities the sector has with one of the largest research and education footprints in the world.
"This network is leading-edge and fully resilient and will enable AARNet to facilitate the e-research agenda in this country," Hancock said. "It will let researchers collaborate like never before and allow educators to utilize the latest advances in enriched learning - all on the global stage".
Hancock said since the Internet began in Australia, remote and rural areas have suffered from a lack of affordable, high-speed capacity, mainly due to the size of the continent.
"AARNet3 will go a long way towards ending this problem and while there is still more to be done to complete the network, our aim is to provide equity of access to a national high-speed network for all research and education in Australia," he said.
Research and education groups will now be able to form virtual research communities which can work together to collaborate, communicate and produce results as if they were in the next room, according to AARNet.
"Once these new technologies have been adopted within the research community, these services and functions will flow to all sectors of education and into the broader community to facilitate life-long learning," Hancock said.
The AARNet3 network consists of more than 30,000 pair kilometres of fibre connecting about one million end users. This covers much of the Australian mainland, including connecting research and teaching institutions from Cairns to Perth and Darwin to Hobart.