Super high speed internet launched in New Zealand

Friday, September 1, 2006

The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark, yesterday unveiled Kiwi Advanced Research and Education Network (KAREN). It is super high speed Internet that is capable of transmitting data with speeds of up to ten gigabits per second, 10,000 times faster than the current speed of broadband (1Mbps), and 200,000 times faster than dial-up.

The New Zealand Government put NZ$43 million ($28.1 million USD) into the Crown company: Research and Education Advanced Network of New Zealand (REANNZ) organization, responsible for the running of KAREN.

KAREN will link universities and research institutions in Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hawkes Bay, Nelson and Rotorua and then to the rest of the world via a TelstraClear fibre optic cable.

The network will allow geologists/geophysicists to access U.S. data on fault lines, 3D modellers the ability to collaborate on international mapping projects and students will be able to participate in interactive video lectures with experts, anywhere in the world.

The technology so far is limited to just universities and research institutions but Minister for Education Steve Maharey said: “The network will be extended over time to include other institutions, including schools, libraries and museums.” It is also limited to just one university in the South Island, it is located in the HIT Lab NZ at the University of Canterbury.

Clark said: “The link is crucial in order to attract and retain scientists, because it allows a greater level of real time collaboration between scientists based in New Zealand, and their colleagues around the world.”

The Telecommunications’ Users Association of New Zealand chief executive, Ernie Newman, said: “Karen was a ‘great initiative’ for the science community, and that would have wider benefits for the country.”

Dr. Mark Billinhurst, HIT Lab director, said: “The network meant the country was now legitimately part of the international research community.”

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