NUANCE – January 2010

UbuntuNet Alliance welcomes the 12th Member NREN

2010 started on a high note at UbuntuNet Alliance as the appropriately named EthERNet, the Ethiopian Research and Education Network, was accepted as the 12th REN Participant (Member). This has come just two months after the UbuntuNet community celebrated and welcomed SomaliREN as the 11th member. The updated membership map shows that UbuntuNet Alliance covers a large land mass in eastern and southern Africa. The human network is growing and we expect to see the physical network exchanging REN traffic soon!

EthERNet was initiated in 2001 as part of a national capacity building program together with the nationwide SchoolNet programme. It interconnects 31 tertiary level education institutions. EthERNet is in the UbuntuNet East Cluster and will interconnect with NREs in the neighbouring Somalia, Djibouti, Sudan and Kenya.

ERINA4Africa Launches website

Collecting data on the St Andrews eLearning project at the University of Malawi, College of MedicineThe EU FP7 project, ERINA4Africa, which is mapping Africa’s research e-Infrastructure potential for boosting research and innovation, has launched its website, The website will be used to disseminate project activities, data collection and hosting the virtual observatory.

The aim of ERINA4Africa is to foster knowledge-sharing between e-Infrastructures stakeholders in Africa and the EU in the key ICT areas of e-Health, e-Government, and e-Learning with the overall outcome of accelerating the contribution of e-Infrastructures to societal and economic development in Africa. The picture shows Tiwonge Banda capturing data for ERINA4Africa at Malawi College of Medicine with the Director of ICT, Anthony Muyepa and the University of St Andrews Educational Technology visitor, Julie Struthers.

A call to all e-Infrastructure projects in Africa in the key ICT areas of e-Health, e-Government, and e-Learning to participate in the project! Please get in touch with any of the following contacts: Margaret Ngwira (mengwira @ ubuntunet . net), Simon Taylor (simon.taylor @ brunel . ac . uk) and Bjorn Pehrson (bpehrson @ kth . se).

KENET supplies over twenty-fold increase in bandwidth over 12 months through fibre

January 28, 2010 has marked the beginning of another phase for KENET, the Kenya NREN, as they launched their first STM-1 link between its Nairobi PoP and the UbuntuNet Router in London through the SEACOM cable. This means that KENET is the second NREN to connect to the UbuntuNet Router in London using fibre after TENET connected about 2 years ago.

In an email statement, Professor Meoli Kashorda, CEO of KENET said that “it has been an exciting learning experience and we are ready to share with all NRENs all the setup and equipment procurement.” KENET and TENET engineers worked together to make this possible (TENET manages the London router on behalf of UbuntuNet Alliance).

With the STM-1 and additional capacity via VSAT and another commercial provider in Kenya, KENET has over 600 Mb/s bandwidth available for its institutions, an increase from 25 Mb/s a year ago. This presents a wonderful opportunity for the learning and research community in Kenya. KENET also has an STM-4 on TEAMS which they have not activated; and they expect to purchase an additional 3 x STM-4 by July 2010 under the KTCIP funding/grant.

Announcement of new TERENA task force: TF-Media

On 1 January 2010, a new TERENA task force came into effect called TF-Media. TF-Media was established under the auspices of TERENA to collect ideas, knowledge and experiences about the technical, administrative and legal aspects of federated multimedia production, management and distribution services on a pan-European scale.

The task force is open to all and targets those building, deploying and/or operating multimedia systems/services at an NREN or university and/or is interested in the related collaboration, standardisation, legal and promotional issues.

More information about the TF-Media can be found in the enclosed information sheet. Please feel free to share this information with anyone you think may be interested.

The first official meeting of the task force will take place on 18-19 March in Athens, Greece and will be hosted by GRNET.

AfNOG-11 and AfriNIC-12: Meetings 23 May-4 June, 2010

The African Network Operators’ Group (AfNOG) and the African Network Information Centre (AfriNIC) are pleased to announce that the 11th AfNOG Meeting and the AfriNIC-12 Meeting which will be held in Kigali, Rwanda during May & June 2010. The jointly organised two-week events include the AfNOG Workshop on Network Technology (offering advanced training in a week-long hands-on workshop), several full-day Advanced Tutorials, a one-day AfNOG Meeting, and a two-day AfriNIC Meeting. In addition, several side meetings and workshops will be hosted in collaboration with other organizations.

Further details are available at the AfNOG and AfriNIC websites.

World Bank RCIP and Malawi

On 26th January, Professor Z D Kadzamira, the Chair of the Alliance, joined staff of the Secretariat and some members of MAREN to meet those members of the Malawi Privatization Commission who are overseeing the World Bank- supported RCIPMW – Regional Communication Infrastructure Program – Malawi Project. Tanzania and Mozambique also have RCIP programs. The components are: an enabling environment; connectivity; and project management.

To quote, “The project will seek to reduce the price of ICT services, through competition and other cost reduction measures especially related to the Internet and broadband in order to make these services affordable to more people. The project will help remove bottlenecks to international connectivity and other barriers to market efficiency at the national and local level. PPP for regional connectivity, the establishment of the VLP (Virtual Landing Point)the rollout of access networks to cover a selected 100 institutions”.

At the meeting, a number of common areas emerged during very fruitful discussions, including last mile connectivity, national backbone and the possibility of MAREN assisting with or identifying expertise to assist with consultancy studies. This new relationship is likely to grow and develop.

Capacity Building

Work at the UbuntuNet Alliance Secretariat has become more challenging with the EU FP7 projects ERINA4Africa and GLOBAL in which the Alliance is a partner. This work promises to increase if the other proposed projects in which the Alliance is a partner are funded. It was realized that assistance was needed to meet all deliverables for the research projects and in bringing out a monthly newsletter and maintaining the Alliance website that reflects the rapid developments that the Alliance is undergoing.  The good news is that with the approval of the Executive Committee, an ICT Research Intern has been recruited for a 12 month internship. The position, which is partly a mentoring position, will greatly assist with the above activities.

The newly recruited incumbent is Mr Memory Afonso, a fresh computer science graduate of the University of Malawi. Memory says “I am happy about this position! I believe that I can contribute to the activities of the Alliance and at the same time will gain knowledge of innovations in the field that are not easily gained by new graduates. The staff members are becoming a family to me and I think that working for UbuntuNet Alliance will be an exciting experience”.

International academic webcasting grant for developing countries using openEyA

The Science Dissemination Unit (SDU) at the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy, facilitates the transfer of knowledge and the exchange of scientific information via information and communication technologies.

Starting in 2010, the SDU is offering an academic webcasting grant to have an “off-the-shelf” solution for online learning. The aim is to help non-profit institutions from countries that are members of the United Nations, UNESCO or IAEA to implement the automated production of on-line scientific content (via webinars) and e-learning and distance education (via web lectures).

The SDU grant provides a complete set of the openEyA recording system (worth about 650 Euros), including all necessary hardware and software. It may be awarded to up to three different organizations.

The recording system consists of a Netbook, (which comes installed with openEyA and the Linux Open Source operating system), an omni-directional USB microphone, a digital camera, a webcam, and power cables. For more details, visit the openEyA

To find out more about this SDU “International Academic Webcasting Grant for Developing Countries” send an e-mail to: sdu @ ictp . it or visit:

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