PRESS RELEASE

New high-speed internet will connect the world to African research and education

28 May 2013, Cambridge, UK. DANTE (Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe) has awarded a 15 year contract to award-winning carrier WIOCC for connectivity services in Southern and Eastern Africa, kicking off atwo year planning and procurement phase for the AfricaConnect project. In 2015, the contract will novate from DANTE to the UbuntuNet Alliance.

The connectivity procured under the AfricaConnect project complements the UbuntuNet network, a high-capacity network for research and education in Sub-Saharan Africa which creates a regional gateway for global research collaboration. Whilst the long-awaited internet backbone will improve the lives of millions of Africans through accelerated research and education, the connectivity will equally benefit collaborative scientific research the world over, in areas such as climate change, malaria, biodiversity and medicine.

Africa is a rich resource of intellect and genetic resources, as well as having the sort of large quiet spaces ideal for deep space research, and its increased involvement in global science is highly anticipated.

Detailed evaluation

A comprehensive procurement process began in October 2011. Ten organisations from Africa and Europe submitted tenders, and after a competitive negotiation process, the final shortlist comprised five potential suppliers.

Says Cathrin Stover, Chief International Relations & Communication Officer, DANTE:

“We selected WIOCC for its excellent track record in delivering high-performance; end-to-end managed international connectivity services. The winning solution offered carefully tailored performance, reach, resilience and management, which matched the strict requirements set out in the Invitation to Tender for AfricaConnect.”

WIOCC will provide high-speed data transmission capacity between a set of Sub-Saharan Africa locations and Europe, along with housing space for UbuntuNet routing, switching and monitoring equipment.

WIOCC CEO Chris Wood adds:

“We are delighted to be partnering with DANTE and the UbuntuNet Alliance in delivering a shared vision of improved connectivity for the people of Africa, and here in particular for those involved in research and education in Southern and Eastern Africa.

“We will implement a bespoke solution based on WIOCC’s extensive African terrestrial and submarine infrastructure to deliver the cost-effective, resilient, high-capacity infrastructure required for this project. It is a real privilege to be chosen to support this initiative which will, I am sure, make an enduring contribution to the sharing of knowledge and educational resources within the region and with the global academic and research community.”

AfricaConnect governance and future plans

Funded by the European Commission and coordinated by DANTE, AfricaConnect is a collaborative partnership between Africa (represented by the UbuntuNet Alliance and its 14 member National Research and Education Networks, NRENs, as well as the Association of African Universities, AAU, and the West and CentralAfrican Research and EducationNetwork, WACREN) and Europe – supported by 5 European NRENs (DFN – Germany; GARR – Italy; FCCN – Portugal; HEAnet – Ireland; SURFnet – Netherlands).

Further press information:
Paul Maurice/Tamsin Henderson
DANTE
Tel: 01223 371 300
paul.maurice@dante.net
tamsin.henderson@dante.net

About DANTE DANTE

(Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe) is a non-profit organisation established in 1993 that plans, builds and operates large scale, advanced networks for research and education. On behalf of Europe’s National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), DANTE has built and operates GÉANT, a flagship e-Infrastructure key to achieving the European Research Area. Working in cooperation with the European Commission and in close partnership with Europe’s NRENs and international networking partners, DANTE remains fundamental to the success of global research collaboration.

DANTE currently manages research and education networking projects serving the Mediterranean (EUMEDCONNECT), Sub-Saharan Africa (AfricaConnect) and Central Asia (CAREN) regions and Europe-China collaboration (ORIENTplus), as well as assisting the projects underway in Latin America (redCLARA), Caribbean (CKLN) and Asia-Pacific (TEIN). For more information, visit www.dante.net

About WIOCC

WIOCC (www.wiocc.net) has firmly established itself as Africa’s carriers’ carrier, providing international and African telcos and internet service providers with unrivalled high-speed, resilient and diverse capacity into, within and out of Africa.

Operating exclusively as a wholesaler, WIOCC offers carriers affordable, reliable connectivity to over 400 locations across 30 African countries – utilising more than 50,000km of terrestrial fibre and 40,000km of submarine fibre-optic cable. WIOCC’s international network reach currently extends to 100 cities in 29 countries in Europe and more than 700 cities in 70 countries globally.

Through strategic investments in three major international submarine cables into Africa – EASSy, EIG and WACS – WIOCC has created a unique, diversity-rich, high-capacity ‘ring’ around Africa, extending seamless regional and international services the length of Africa’s eastern, and western seaboards and into Europe and North Africa.

About UbuntuNet Alliance

UbuntuNet Alliance is a regional association of National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) in Eastern and Southern Africa.It was established in the latter half of 2005 by five established and emerging NRENs as the regional Research and Education Network.To date, the footprint of the Alliance in terms of membership has stretched across the largest land mass of Eastern and Southern Africa with participating NRENs in 14 countries.

Currently, the Alliance connects in Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Tanzania, and Zambia through points of presence in London, Amsterdam and Mtunzini (South Africa. The Alliance works towards enabling collaboration in research and education over world class networks.

For more information about UbuntuNet Alliance, please visit www.ubuntunet.net.

About GÉANT

GÉANT is the pan-European research and education network that interconnects Europe’s National Research and Education Networks (NRENs). Together we connect over 50 million users at 10,000 institutions across Europe, supporting research in areas such as energy, the environment, space and medicine.

Operating at speeds of up to 100Gbps and reaching over 100 national networks worldwide, GÉANT remains the largest and most advanced research and education network in the world.

Co-funded by the European Commission under the EU’s 7th Research and Development Framework Programme, GÉANT is a flagship e-Infrastructure key to achieving the European Research Area – a seamless and open European space for online research – and assuring world-leading connectivity between Europe and the rest of the world in support of global research collaborations.

The network and associated services comprise the GÉANT (GN3plus) project, a collaborative effort comprising 41 project partners: 38 European NRENs, DANTE, TERENA and NORDUnet (representing the 5 Nordic countries). GÉANT is operated by DANTE on behalf of Europe’s NRENs. For more information, visit www.geant.net

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