Qwest and Internet2 sign new contract to quadruple network capacity for pioneering, also telemedical research

Denver 12 December 2001Qwest Communications International Inc., the broadband communications company, and Internet2, a university-led research and development consortium, have signed a new five-year agreement to quadruple the Abilene Internet2 network's capacity. Qwest's investment in the improvement of the Abilene Internet2 network is valued at $300 million. The various network applications will further the search for solutions in complex scientific fields such as cancer research, artificial intelligence, robotics, and early preparation for earthquakes.


The new agreement will increase the Abilene Internet2 network's capacity to 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps) through the use of optical networking technologies, making the network one of the most advanced and far-reaching educational research networks in the world. More than 190 universities and research centres use the Abilene Internet2 network to create and test data and video applications which have revolutionised how scientists, teachers and students work and collaborate. The enhanced network will have enough capacity to send 9.7 million five-paragraph e-mails in one second.

"Qwest is proud of its affiliation with Internet2 and the revolutionary, cutting-edge applications that are enabled by our network", stated Afshin Mohebbi, Qwest president and chief operating officer. "The relationship further defines Qwest's position as a leader in delivering reliable, secure network services for the government and education markets."

"Qwest's technology and commitment to Internet2 will ensure the Abilene Internet2 network continues to provide the academic and research community with an unsurpassed national networking capability", commented Douglas Van Houweling, president and CEO of Internet2. "Since its launch three years ago, the Abilene Internet2 network has been an unqualified success: it connects leading universities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico; peers with 37 international research and education networks; and also includes participation by 17 state education networks."

The Abilene Internet2 network enables the deployment of revolutionary education and research applications, as well as the development of new network capabilities, such as:

  • The Visible Human: A three-dimensional, computer-generated cybernetic body, the Visible Human is available over the Abilene Internet2 network for medical researchers throughout North America. Using digitised data from a cadaver, researchers created a virtual human body that can be viewed from any angle, dissected, and reassembled by anatomy students, or used as a model to study the growth of cancer cells.
  • Distance Learning: Cameras are installed above the operating table, and within the area of the body undergoing the medical procedure, so students 1000 miles or more away may watch the operation in real time from "inside the body".

Qwest is the recognised industry leader in providing high-bandwidth network services for other prestigious education and research networks, including the National Science Foundation's Distributed Terascale Facility programme, NASA's Research and Education Network, and the Department of Energy's Energy Sciences Network. Qwest's 2001 revenues from the government and education sectors are expected to be approximately $1 billion.

Led by more than 190 United States universities, working with industry and government, Internet2 is developing and deploying advanced network applications and technologies for research and higher education, accelerating the creation of tomorrow's Internet. Internet2 recreates the partnerships of academia, industry, and government which helped foster today's Internet in its infancy.

Abilene, developed in partnership with Qwest Communications, Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks, and Indiana University, is an Internet2 backbone network providing nationwide high-performance networking capabilities for over 200 Internet2 universities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Leslie Versweyveld

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