The Next Generation Internet consortium could hear as soon as next week what kind of further government funding and other support it will receive to set up a high-bandwidth network chiefly in the service of science and education.
The case for NGI has gone into government budgeting procedures for next year, “but we expect to see something much sooner than the 2005 Budget”, says NGI chief Tone Borren. An announcement could happen next week, he says.
Last week NGI received formal assurance of co-operation from Internet2, the US-wide high-capacity network which links on to Europe and Asia. Internet2 and NGI have signed a formal memorandum of understanding to that effect.
“Basically they’ve agreed to pass on whatever traffic we sent their way,” Borren says.
There was never any real prospect of such an agreement being declined, he says. In fact, the reaction from Internet2 “was very much one of: welcome New Zealand, good to have you; what took you so long?”
The most immediate priority once funding comes through will be to set up some kind of basic high-speed network, taking in a few major research and education centres and tying that to an international link through the US. What form that network will take depends on where the co-operation and the expressed needs come from within New Zealand, Borren says.
“We can do that fairly quickly, and from that point, the network will evolve.”
Earlier this month, the NGI project received a grant of of approximately $8m capital funding from the Tertiary Education Commission's Innovation and Development Fund.