University of New England gets $5 million for AREN fibre connection

Funding for increased connectivity comes as part of Federal Government's Capital Development Pool (CDP) program

The University of New England will receive $5 million in Federal Government funding over the next two years to create a fibre optic connection to the Australian Research and Education Network (AREN).

The funding comes as part of an announcement from the Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, that 21 universities will share $71.5 million to improve their facilities.

According to a statement, the University of New England will get initial funding of $300,000 for 2010 and then $4.7 million in 2011 as part of the Capital Development Pool (CDP) program to create the high-capacity and dedicated fibre link to AREN.

(Other university funding can be seen here.)

The new connection will boost the university's links to the academic high-speed network – which is managed run by AARNet (shareholders in the company include 37 of Australian universities and the CSIRO – by at least ten-fold.

An existing 1Gb link will be joined by another fibre connection to take the capacity to 10Gb. The university's director of information technology, Brian Cameron, said the increase would improve redundancy and open new doors for the education provider.

"It will enable us to engage with some of the greater collaboration projects and even potentially participate as a node on the Australian data network," he said. "It really boosts our capability to engage with some of the world class research initiatives and the new approaches that the government and research areas of the country want to go."

In September, the University of NSW upgraded its network connection to AARNet to 10Gbps with a view to enabling new projects that require high bandwidth or large amounts of data exchange.

AARNet recently launched a 10Gbps customer access product that is aimed at allowing more collaborative research between the university subscribers. Speeds of 10Gbps are associated with data centre fabric, but AARNet’s greenfield network allows for high capacity across a wide-area network.

AARNet’s CEO, Chris Hancock also recently told Computerworld those looking for a glimpse into the future of the National Broadband Network (NBN) should look to AREN as an example.

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