CSIR picks Neotel for Salt broadband

2010-10-27 13:32
Cape Town - The CSIR has selected a Neotel/Broadband Infraco partnership to install a 10Gbps network at the Salt (South African Large Telescope) and SKA (Square Kilometre Array) in the Northern Cape.

"The selection is the outcome of a tender process that was done in consultation with the department of science and technology (DST) and the National Research Foundation (NRF). The tenders were evaluated taking into account price, BEE criteria and technical considerations," the CSIR said in a statement.

The project is scheduled for completion in 10 months at a cost of about R100m and it will allow connectivity between Cape Town and the sites, as part of the South African National Research Network (Sanren).

The Salt already has a 4Mbps Telkom line which was commissioned by Sanren in 2009 as an interim connection, but it does not fulfil future requirements, the CSIR said.

The purpose of the new connection will allow researchers to transfer data locally and internationally.


"It meets the requirements of the current phase of the SKA project. Neotel/BBI has provided the CSIR with a solution that will address the requirements of the site," said CSIR head of cyber infrastructure group Professor Colin Wright.

The network is also critical to South Africa's bid to host the SKA which will require high bandwidth as it transfers data from thousands of radio telescopes simultaneously.

The MeerKAT project alone will connect 80 radio telescopes in the region and will have the capacity to look up to six billion years back in time, associate director Anita Loots told News24 at the launch of the project.

"The installation of the circuit to the SKA site, close to the town of Carnavon, will provide further proof that South Africa can provide the bandwidth needed to fulfil the requirements of the full SKA, and will serve as a significant boost to the South African SKA bid," said Dr Daniel Adams, DST chief director of emerging research areas and infrastructure.

"With the recent successful installation of seven dishes at the SKA site, the 10Gbps link could not have come at a better time. Researchers are eager to get access to the data that are being produced at these sites. The broadband link will enable not only South African, but international research to have near real-time access to the data," said NRF CEO and president Dr Albert van Jaarsveld.

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