UbuntuNet, Africa’s high-speed Internet Network for Research & Education Commisione

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Data center - 1Being a researcher or student in Africa is a problem, especially due to the burden of slow Internet connectivity which has consequently widened the gap between the continent’s researchers and their peers globally.

To end this menace, UbuntuNet Alliance, the research and education network for Eastern and Southern Africa; and DANTE, the operator of GÉANT, the pan-European research and education network today commisioned UbuntuNet network, the regional high-speed Internet network connecting researchers, educators and students in Eastern and Southern Africa to their peers in the region and to Europe.

According to Cathrin Stöver, Chief International Relations Officer, DANTE, “Today through the collaboration with GÉANT, the UbuntuNet network is boosting EU-African collaboration, bringing research and educational opportunities unprecedented in Africa.  The implications for socio-economic development go far beyond anything we could have dreamed of before, putting African research on the map and transforming the lives of millions. I am very proud that GÉANT is the first R&E network to connect to Africa!”

Commissioned today, UbuntuNet network is not totally new.

The first phase was completed in February and serves South Africa’s TENET , MoRENet in Mozambique, TERNET in Tanzania, KENET in Kenya, RENU in Uganda and RwEdNet in Rwanda, and forms the backbone on which the network to serve the entire Alliance region will be created.

Phase two serves Eb@le in Democratic Republic of Congo, MAREN in Malawi and ZAMREN in Zambia. The link between Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Lusaka in Zambia was completed at the end of May 2014 drastically reducing connectivity costs to nearly nothing for the Zambian research and education community. Links from Lusaka to Blantyre in Malawi, and from Cape Town to Moanda in DRC will be completed in the near future.

The network is delivering international and regional bandwidth to NRENs in these counties at a consolidated price of $135 per megabit per second per month and aims to eliminate the barrier to regional participation in global research and education collaboration.

The network is also expected to contribute significantly to improved health research in bioinformatics in Zambia.

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