Completion of SEEREN project extends pan-European research network to Balkans

Athens 12 January 2004The pan-European high speed research network GEANT has been extended to the Balkan countries with the completion of the "South Eastern European research and education networking" (SEEREN) project. The project was awarded 1,3 million euro under the European Union's Fifth Framework Programme for research, and was charged with not only connecting the research communities in South East Europe to one another, but also linking them to the existing European network.

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"The new network will improve on-line access for researchers and this is vital for enabling the full participation and integration of the Balkan research community in the European Research Area (ERA)", stated EU Commissioner for Enterprise and the Information Society, Erkki Liikanen, on 9 January.

Indeed, the SEEREN project has provided more than just technical connectivity. Bridging the digital divide that still separates the Balkans from the rest of Europe was one of the key aims of the project, and the consortium have been active in encouraging European Union Member States to work together with researchers from South East Europe.

The extension sees the inclusion of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Romania, and Serbia and Montenegro in the GEANT network, which now connects 43 countries and over 3500 institutions.

GEANT is constantly upgraded, and currently has a total trunk capacity of 185 gigabits (Gbit) per second. This is more than twice as powerful as other research networks. The network also provides a 14,5 Gbit per second connection to North America and Japan, while further links to the Latin American and Mediterranean regions will be operational shortly.


Leslie Versweyveld

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