JANET signs £4.5m West Midlands e-learning deal

The organisation responsible for running the UK's academic and research IT networks has today announced a 4.5-million deal to deliver enhanced educational resources to the West Midlands.

The deal with telecoms provider, ntl:Telewest Business will provide a high-speed data network across the region. The network will also offer access to eight higher education institutions, 45 further education colleges, 2,500 primary and secondary schools, and its research community.

As part of the 17 regional JANET networks in the UK, the new West Midlands Regional Network will also replace the old Midlands Metropolitan Area Network (MidMAN), reaching more than 3.4 million staff, students and researchers.

The new network has been designed to facilitate collaboration and fast and effective communication between the connected academic institutions, such as Aston University, Coventry University and the University of Warwick, as well as enabling access to other universities and the wider internet through JANET.

The new infrastructure will provide a 10 gigabytes per second (GbGb/s) core network and between 10 megabits (Mb/s) and 1Gb/s connections to every school, college and university in the region.

For staff and students, this new regional infrastructure will also support high-bandwidth applications and innovative e-learning facilities, like virtual learning environments, video conferencing and lecture streaming to remote sites.

At the same time, access to the JANET high-capacity backbone will also enable researchers to connect to high-performance national and international computing facilities and large data storage resources.

Tim Marshall, JANET (UK) chief executive said: "I am confident that we will deliver an exemplary service to our customers across the West Midlands, enabling them to extend further the expectations of education and research in the region."

The West Midlands Regional Network follows on from the ntl: Telewest's work to upgrade JANET's East Midlands Metropolitan Area Network (EMMAN) and extend its Aurora dark-fibre network infrastructure, which supports research on photonics and optical systems.

The new network will also be used by 13 of the region's local authorities for internet access, transferring data and facilitating shared services.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.