Delegation of the European Union to India and Bhutan

Asi@Connect project launched to bridge digital divide in Asia-Pacific

14/02/2017 - 08:33
News

PRESS RELEASE | 14 February 2017, New Delhi, India

Over 55 million researchers, academics and students across the Asia-Pacific, including India, are set to benefit from a new phase of dedicated research and education (R&E) networking - Asi@connect, co-funded by the European Union (EU) - which was formally inaugurated at the Asia Pacific Advanced Network 43 (APAN43) meeting in New Delhi, India to seamlessly extend and build on the successful Trans-Eurasia Information Network (TEIN) initiative.

Asi@Connect is the successor project to TEIN4, the most recent phase of the TEIN initiative. It currently supports 24 countries/economies by providing a regional high-capacity internet backbone for R&E collaborations within the Asia-Pacific and, its interconnection to the pan-European GÉANT network, and with other parts of the world.

The Asi@Connect contract was signed in December 2016 between the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) and the Korea-based regional networking organisation TEIN*CC, which has been managing TEIN4. Asi@Connect corresponds closely to the core project objective of "digital connectivity" and has linkages to both India's flagship project "Digital India "and the EU's "Digital Single Market".

With a substantial five-year EU co-funding commitment of € 20 mn. until 2021, Asi@Connect is designed to support the countries across the region to

  • Develop and deploy new network services
  • facilitate human capacity building and knowledge exchange
  • extend the R&E footprint to connect additional Asia-Pacific countries
  • promote and support networking between R&E communities focusing on applications with high societal impact which contribute towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), e.g. telemedicine, e-learning, natural disaster warning, food security etc.
  • improve public internet access in least developed countries

During the launch ceremony, which was hosted by the Indian Asi@Connect partner NKN (National Knowledge Network), delegations from the European Union, the Korean Government and the Indian Government welcomed the kick-off of Asi@Connect and encouraged the R&E network community to build on achievements to date and further strengthen cooperation between Asia and Europe.

Talking about the significance of this new project, H.E. Mr. Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador of the European Union to India pointed out that, "The EU has long recognized the potential of promoting people-to-people connectivity. AsiaConnect is an excellent example of regional integration, with the R&E communities of 21 Asia-Pacific countries inter-connected by powerful high-capacity, high quality Internet links. This project will be a vehicle for promoting a peaceful, secure, open and cooperative ICT environment between Asia and Europe, and in turn benefit society as a whole." "There are unlimited fields of world-class research which can profit from the powerful links we have created together. Sharing data and working together on astronomy, meteorology, climate change monitoring, or early warning in case of natural disasters are just a few examples," he added.

“The official launch of Asi@Connect marks the opening of a major new chapter in research networking across Asia-Pacific,” said Dr. Hye-Joo Yoon, President of TEIN*CC. “Building on the considerable achievements of the predecessor phases, Asi@Connect will enable the connection of more countries at higher speeds, roll out advanced network services and contribute to achieving development goals through improved access to education and research resources, thus bridging the digital divide in the region.”

The launch event was attended by H.E. Mr. Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador of the European Union to India, Mr. Suk-Joon Son, Director of Network Promotion Sector, Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning of the Republic of Korea, and Ms. Hye-Joo Yoon, President of TEIN*CC. From India, Dr R. Chidabaram, Principal Scientific Advisor, Government of India, Dr Neeta Verma, Director General NIC/ National Knowledge Network (NKN) and Dr SV Raghavan, Chairman Technical Advisory Committee, NKN attended the event.

NKN has set up its own Internet links from Mumbai to Amsterdam, and intends to allow Asi@Connect traffic to utilize this link. Furthermore, NKN will provide international connectivity to the neighbouring countries of Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

TEIN has created a Pan Asia-Pacific regional network with the largest geographical footprint of any regional R&E network in the world, and with a user community of over 50 million. This is of equal scale to Europe’s user community served by the GÉANT network.

About Asi@Connect

Asi@Connect marks the 4th phase of EU funding to the Trans-Eurasia Information Network (TEIN) programme which was launched as a The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) initiative in 2001 and has successfully established a regional research and education connectivity network from scratch in 2004 and progressively expanded its geographical footprint over the years. During this new phase, greater emphasis will be placed on delivering the project with increased involvement of additional partners within the Asia-Pacific R&E community.

Asi@Connect takes over the R&E backbone from TEIN4, the most recent phase in the TEIN initiative and will continue to connect regional researchers with their counterparts in Europe via GÉANT, the world’s most advanced international research and education network, providing the Asia-Pacific countries with a gateway for global research collaboration. Asi@Connect receives €20 mn. in funding from the EU up to 2021 and further funding from Asian partners.

GÉANT (then DANTE) transferred responsibility for the TEIN programme to TEIN*CC in 2012 and has since provided consultancy advice. This advisory role will continue during Asi@Connect.  To find out more visit www.tein.asia

The Asi@Connect partners are the National Research & Education Network associations (NRENs) of Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, The Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, and Vietnam. Bhutan, Myanmar and Mongolia are Asi@Connect partners but as yet without Internet connectivity.

About TEIN*CC
Asi@Connect is managed by the regional networking organization TEIN*Cooperation Center (TEIN*CC). TEIN*CC was established in August 2011 by the Korean Government, with TEIN partner support as a non-profit Foundation Corporation to take responsibility for the 4th phase of the TEIN project which started in April 2012. It is located in Seoul, with funding provided by the Korean Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, and TEIN*CC office property supported by the Seoul Metropolitan Government. For more information visit http://www.teincc.org

About NKN
Funded by the Indian Government and implemented and operated by the National Informatics Centre, NKN delivers a state-of-the-art backbone for R&E across India. It currently connects over 4 million users across 1600 institutions at gigabit speed, providing robust and reliable network connectivity, cloud-based services and applications support. As well as being a major partner in Asi@Connect, NKN’s international network also connects India to Europe and other key regions. To find out more visit http://nkn.gov.in

About GÉANT
GÉANT is Europe’s leading collaboration on network and related infrastructure and services for the benefit of research and education, contributing to Europe's economic growth and competitiveness. The organisation develops, delivers and promotes advanced network and associated e-infrastructure services, and supports innovation and knowledge-sharing amongst its members, partners and the wider research and education networking community. For more information visit www.geant.org​, follow us on Twitter @GEANTnews and read our latest blog posts at https://blog.geant.org

Editorial Sections:

Author