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Alston launches program to underpin the next generation of the Internet.



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Alston launches program to underpin the next generation of the Internet The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston today launched the Advanced Networks Program (ANP), which will place Australia at the cutting edge in the development of next generation very high capacity networks.

'This groundbreaking program, which will help lay the foundations for the future of the Internet, has only been made possible through the partial sale of Telstra,' Senator Alston said.

'No amount of air-talk from the Labor Party about its knowledge notion changes the fact that it voted against the ANP which will provide a revolutionary leap in the use of the Internet for advanced research and development and product development.

'The networks and test beds likely to emanate from the ANP will be crucial in areas such as telemedicine (eg real time medical diagnosis), simulation software, advanced manufacturing, tele-education, the film post-production sector and virtual laboratories as well as the stimulating collaborative advanced projects across the research community.

'The innovative work done by the Australian photonics industry and the dual broadband cable roll-outs have seen Australia already recognised internationally as a leader in the development of high capacity broadband networks. The ANP program will help to keep Australia at the forefront of network development and applications,' Senator Alston said.

The ANP is a key element of the Commonwealth Government $158 million Building on IT Strengths (BITS) Program, funded from the proceeds of the partial sale of Telstra. It will provide $40 million to support the development, trialing and demonstration of advanced communications networks, experimental networks and test beds.

'The program will demonstrate Australia's capabilities in developing advanced network

technologies and enable Australia to capitalise on the new network developments which will underpin the information age over the next decade.'

The advanced networks and test beds will:

· promote experimentation in, and commercialisation of, leading-edge network technologies and products;

· assist the development and delivery of advanced applications, services, products and content;

· promote the testing, trialing and demonstration of next generation applications, products and services; and

· promote the use of advanced networks in regional areas.

The program will provide between $4-15 million per project to meet the infrastructure costs of developing and maintaining advanced networks and test beds.

Advanced networks and test beds are key elements in the development of the IT&T industry as well as a being key enablers of high level R&D. They are necessary for leading-edge innovation which will be vital for the development, trialing and demonstration of next generation IT&T applications, products and services.

'The program will encourage high level R&D in telecommunications, computing and related areas, broaden the scope of collaborative R&D between industry and research institutions, and increase Australia's ability to participate in international R&D projects involving advanced technologies,' Senator Alston said.

'It is anticipated that the ANP will encourage collaboration between industry, research institutions, the higher education sector, State and Territory Governments and Commonwealth agencies and will maximise the benefits arising from advanced networks supported by the Program.

'Development of advanced networks such as Internet2 in the United States, and CANARIE in Canada, clearly demonstrates that cooperation between Government and industry can contribute to the growth of advanced networks and the establishment of national backbone networks.

'The ANP is an important element of the Government's strategy to strengthen the international competitiveness of the IT&T industries sector and to further enhance Australia's capabilities for world class R&D.'

Information sessions for prospective applicants will be held in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Canberra and Sydney during September and October. Individuals and organisations interested in attending an information session should register online at www.dcita.gov.au/bits.

Information sessions in the Northern Territory and Tasmania will be organised on a demand basis. Interested parties should contact the BITS Advanced Network Team on 02 6271 1751

to discuss arrangements.

Further information and guidelines for the ANP program are available online at www.dcita.gov.au/bits.

There will only be one call for applications-closing date for applications is 2.00pm (AEDST), 12 December 2000.

Media backgrounder for Advanced Networks Program

Media contact: Sasha Grebe, Senator Alston's office 02 6277 7480 or 0409 445 246 Website: www.richardalston.dcita.gov.au 114/00 10 September 2000

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Media backgrounder Key program elements Program scope

The program will support a variety of advanced network and test bed projects which will promote experimentation in, and commercialisation of, leading-edge network technologies and assist the development of advanced applications, services, products and content. The program will also be able to support projects that promote the use of advanced networks in regional Australia.

The ANP will provide total funding of $40 million, and is expected to allocate between $4 to $15 million to individual network projects. The maximum funding level of $15 million should permit the program to support projects involving more than one State/Territory.

The program will support the establishment of new advanced networks, as well as encourage the development of existing networks.

A technology-neutral approach has been adopted which permits the program to support a range of leading-edge technologies including, for example, optical networks and wireless test beds. The guidelines specifically request applicants identify the type of technology(ies) employed in the network design and the reasons for selecting the particular technology(ies).

There will only be one funding round. This will permit the program to support the development of advanced networks for four years.

Community of users Any advanced networks supported by the program should be based around a community of users. Applicants will need to outline the actual and potential users, as well as the proposed use for the advanced network. This will ensure any network supported by the program will be utilised, preferably by a variety of users, including industry, IT SMEs and the research community.

Collaboration and leverage Collaboration and leverage are two key themes that underpin the ANP. The program aims to foster a collaborative approach to the establishment of advanced networks. Applicants will be encouraged to form linkages with a range of organisations with an interest in advanced networks, including Australian and multinational companies, telecommunications carriers, research institutions, universities and State/Territory Governments.

To encourage this collaboration, potential applicants will have the opportunity to have their contact details placed on the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts' (DOCITA) website www.dcita.gov.au/bits. Applicants interested in establishing collaborative relationships can then use this site to identify possible partners or potential projects to be involved in.

The program will also seek contributions from applicants to leverage the funds provided by the program. While no particular leverage ratio has been set, applications that contain contributions by industry, the research community, universities and/or other organisations in their proposals will be considered favourably. This leverage could encompass financial as well as 'in kind' contributions.

Linkages with other networks The program will encourage advanced network projects which link with other networks in both Australia and overseas. Such linkages are important to maximise the potential uses and benefits arising from the establishment of these networks to minimise the possibility of supporting discrete isolated networks.

Compliance with the Telecommunications Act 1997 Any advanced network supported by the program must comply with the requirements of the Telecommunications Act 1997. Applicants will be required to outline a strategy for meeting these requirements in their application.

Information sessions Information sessions for prospective applicants will be held from 10.00-11.30 am at:

Melbourne Sheraton Towers Southgate 18 September 2000

Adelaide Hyatt Regency 19 September 2000

Perth Parmelia Hilton 20 September 2000

Brisbane Conrad International 26 September 2000

Canberra Hyatt Hotel 28 September 2000

Sydney The Observatory 4 October 2000

Individuals and organisations interested in attending an information session should register online at www.dcita.gov.au/bits.

Information sessions for Tasmania and the Northern Territory will be organised depending on the level of demand. Individuals and organisations interested in the program should contact the BITS Advanced Networks Team on 02 6271 1751 to discuss arrangements.

The selection process Project proposals will be assessed on a competitive basis according to the Program's merit selection criteria outlined in the guidelines. To assist DOCITA with the assessment process, the Department may appoint an independent advisory panel to provide advice to the Department on the applications received. Specialist consultants may also be engaged to provide advice to the Department on the technology, project management and other aspects of the applications.

Timetable There will only be one call for applications-closing date for applications is 2.00pm (AEDST), 12 December 2000.

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