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Contract awarded to build fastest network in NZ

A joint statement from REANNZ and TelstraClear

MEDIA RELEASE
April 20, 2006

Contract awarded to build fastest network in New Zealand

New Zealand’s fastest communications network will be up and running by the end of the year, following the signing of a contract between Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand (REANNZ) and TelstraClear.

REANNZ Chairman Dr Jim Watson says the network will provide the country’s research and educational institutions with super-fast links to each other and peers in over 40 countries around the world.

“TelstraClear will install both the optical transmission network, which operates at 10 Gigabits per second, and the REANNZ routers and switches. TelstraClear subsidiary Sytec will provide first level help desk and network management services which will be backed by REANNZ and TelstraClear technical teams.”

“With this network researchers will have a powerful new tool to enhance their participation in leading-edge research with local and global partners. Education initiatives that utilise enhanced teaching and distance learning tools will also be much easier to implement,” Dr Watson says.

A $43 million Government grant has been awarded for the establishment of the network over four years.

TelstraClear Chief Executive Dr Allan Freeth says the company was making good progress developing the fastest network in the country, one that will bring so many benefits to the research community, and ultimately, the country as a whole.

“Work has already begun on the first part of the network - linking Dunedin to Invercargill, via Invermay, where AgResearch and Crop & Food are located.”

“This specialised network will bring New Zealand’s research capability up to speed technologically with other leading research organisations and learning institutions around the world,” he says.

Dr Freeth said the company is eager to step up construction of the network.

“TelstraClear will now start rolling the network out across the rest of the country.”

Dr Watson says the Advanced Research Network will bring many benefits to New Zealand’s education, research and scientific communities, and their industry partners.

He says that while the network build will be completed by the end of the year, certain parts of the network will be on line earlier to coincide with major research projects. One such project is participation by the School of Engineering at the University of Auckland in the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES). This collaboration of earthquake laboratories, funded by the US National Science Foundation, is working to improve the design techniques needed for better and more cost effective ways of mitigating seismic impacts on buildings, roading and other infrastructure.

By using the Advanced Research Network to transfer data, Auckland engineering researchers will be able to participate remotely in experiments being conducted in US and New Zealand earthquake engineering laboratories. The network will also let them archive data from their

experiments and access computational resources on the NEES grid.

Organisations to be linked first to the network include the University of Auckland, University of Otago, Lincoln University, University of Canterbury, Massey University, Waikato Innovation Park, HortResearch, AgResearch, Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, Hawkes Bay Research Centre (HortResearch) and Scion (New Zealand Forest Research Institute).

TelstraClear will lay fibre from its national fibre network to a series of points of presence (POPs) throughout the country. Education and research institutes will then connect to the POPs through an access provider.

The Advanced Research Network will have its dedicated 10Gbps wavelength on TelstraClear’s core optical backbone network, providing a separate network from TelstraClear’s commercial network.

REANNZ is a Crown entity with the Ministers of Research Science and Technology and of Finance as shareholders.


ENDS

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