GÉANT network connects Pakistan to 100 million researchers in Europe and Asia

October 2008 | Cambridge, UK

Scientists and researchers in Pakistan can now connect with their colleagues across the globe, thanks to a new high speed computer network link, made possible by GÉANT, the advanced pan-European backbone network, and TEIN, the Asian equivalent to GÉANT.

GÉANT was launched in 2000 by the European Commission and the Member States as a jointly funded initiative to upgrade Europe’s research and education networking infrastructure. The EU-funded Trans-Eurasia Information Network (TEIN) and the US National Science Foundation (NSF) today agreed to link with the Pakistan Education Research Network (PERN). TEIN and GÉANT together serve close to 100 million researchers in Europe and Asia enabling ground-breaking research collaboration in fields such as climate change, radio astronomy and biotechnology.

“Europe is delighted that Pakistan's scientists and academics are now connected to the global research and education community thanks to this new link. I am pleased that the TEIN programme, which provides a regional backbone for research and education across Asia Pacific, has made this possible and connects Pakistan to the European scientists and researchers on the GÉANT network.”

"This is an excellent model for co-operation between North American and European programmes, which I hope we can build on in the future."

Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media

European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner added:

"Since the European Community concluded a Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development with Pakistan in 2004, we have made considerable progress in deepening our relations. The connection to the TEIN2 and GÉANT network enables Pakistani scientists to become involved in international research collaboration and reinforces our commitment towards building a strong partnership with Pakistan."

“This represents a major milestone in the development of physical network connectivity between the Pakistan and the global scientific community. It required diligent and sustained efforts of technologists and governments in the US, Europe and Pakistan. Now we must continue those efforts toward our true goal of enhancing global research and education collaborations”

Dr. Arden Bement of the US National Science Foundation

Using European networks, Pakistani scientists from 60 universities and institutes, linked via the Pakistan Education Research Network (PERN), may work with their peers on research projects that require fast data transfers to share information across the globe. PERN reaches GÉANT via its new link with the EU-funded Asia-spanning network TEIN. It will also connect Pakistani scientists to those in the United States through the TransPAC2 initiative.

The connection to TEIN has been co-funded by PERN and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). Through this link, Pakistan is the first of a series of new countries joining TEIN3, the next generation of EU-funded Asian research networks. PERN uses this new 155 millions of bits per second (or Mbps) connection between Karachi and the TEIN3 network Point of Presence in Singapore, which is supplied by Pakistan Telecommunications Company Limited (PTCL).

The Commission recently announced a €12 million funding for TEIN3 (Trans Eurasia Information Network, IP/08/269), a large scale Asia Pacific network. The TEIN network is managed by DANTE, the research networking organisation.

GÉANT is an advanced pan-European backbone network connecting National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) across Europe totalling more than 50,000km in length. GÉANT offers unrivalled geographical coverage, high bandwidth and innovative hybrid networking technology. GÉANT offers European academics and researchers high speed, private network connections to other research centres.

The European Commission’s current contribution to GÉANT is funded by the 6th Framework Programme (2002-2006), amounting to €93 million over 58 months. The total costs of GÉANT for this period are more than €200 million. The remainder is co-financed by the participating countries. The project's partners are the NRENs, the Trans-European Research and Education Networking Association (TERENA) and DANTE, a non-profit organisation which manages and operates the GÉANT network on behalf of Europe’s NRENs. Launched in 2000, GÉANT was further upgraded to become a world leader and to boost Europe’s attractiveness as a place to do research (IP/04/1058 and IP/05/722). Earlier this year it established links with regional research network infrastructures emerging in the Balkans, the Black Sea and Mediterranean regions, as well Asia, Southern Africa and Latin America (IP/08/354).

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