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Date: April 14, 2008

NEPTUNE Data To Flow On High Bandwidth Highway

When data starts flowing from the NEPTUNE Canada undersea cabled observatory, possibly as early as fall 2008, it will reach researchers faster and in greater volume thanks to a dedicated high bandwidth Internet connection.

CANARIE, through its Infrastructure Extension Program, is providing $2.2 million to fund the line for 10 years. CANARIE, a not-for-profit corporation, designs and delivers Canada’s research and education backbone advanced network. It is funded primarily by the federal government through Industry Canada and is supported by its members in the public and private sectors and academia.

The dedicated line, provided by Shaw Business Solutions, is capable of carrying up to 10 billion bits per second, the equivalent of a simultaneous broadcast of 500 broadcast-quality HDTV channels. The fibre-optic line will run between the University of Victoria’s shore station in Port Alberni and the UVic campus—a distance of 200 kilometres.

“Shaw Business Solutions is proud of the successful and long-term partnership we’ve forged with UVic and CANARIE through the development of this unique application,” says Peter Bissonnette, president of Shaw Communications Inc. “We look forward to the advancements in science that Canadian students and researchers will make with the assistance of this tool.”

The line will provide the NEPTUNE Canada network with the required capacity to support the hundreds of instruments and sensors it will install later this year on the seafloor on an 800-km underwater cable loop west of Vancouver Island. The transmitted data will flow out from UVic through existing high bandwidth research network connections to scientists and the public around the world.

“NEPTUNE Canada is grateful for this recognition of the national value, and Canada’s leadership, in building the world’s first regional cabled ocean observatory,” says NEPTUNE Canada director Chris Barnes. “The support is testament to CANARIE’s world-class reputation in ensuring connectivity between leading scientists, research facilities and institutions.”

“This funding ensures a critical high-speed link between the cable system on the floor of the northeast Pacific Ocean and the NEPTUNE Canada headquarters at UVic,” says Benoit Pirenne, NEPTUNE Canada’s associate director of information technology. “The high bandwidth ensures instant delivery of data from hundreds of sensors, and allows us to control all aspects of the observatory’s operations in real-time, including cameras and remotely operated vehicles.”

“This dedicated capacity will enable scientists to manipulate, visualize and interpret huge and complex data sets. CANARIE is focused on providing Canadian researchers and scientists with the advanced network and network-related tools necessary to be leading innovators,” says Andrew Bjerring, president and CEO of CANARIE.

The UVic-led NEPTUNE Canada project is the world’s first regional cabled ocean observatory. Its development and installation and its novel technologies are funded by significant grants from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the BC Knowledge Development Fund.
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Media contacts:
Chris Barnes (NEPTUNE Canada) at 250-472-5350 or crbarnes@uvic.ca
Benoit Pirenne (NEPTUNE Canada) at 250-472-5353 or bpirenne@uvic.ca
Susan Baldwin (CANARIE) at 613-943-5399 or susan.baldwin@canarie.ca
Patty Pitts (UVic Communications) at 250-721-7656 or ppitts@uvic.ca

UVic media releases and other resources for journalists are available on the World Wide Web at http://communications.uvic.ca/media

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