The EU-funded EUMEDCONNECT3 project, which supports international R&E (research and education) connectivity for the Eastern Mediterranean region, has been extended to December 2019. The European Commission’s co-funding share has also been increased from 36% to 60% (EUR 3.2 million) of the overall project costs, which is set to catalyse further connections and capacity upgrades.
The extension was announced at e-AGE 2016, the flagship event of project partner ASREN (Arab States Research and Education Network), at the American University of Beirut (AUB) in Lebanon. Conference participants also welcomed the announcement of the recent capacity upgrade of Lebanon’s international connectivity link. In early 2016, AUB allocated 10 Mbps of its internet bandwidth to interconnect to the project’s GÉANT network via ASREN’s London hub for a pilot connection. This achievement and the prospect of the EUMEDCONNECT3 project extension led to the capacity being upgraded to 320 Mbps in November and accelerated plans for an NREN in Lebanon (LERN).
The Lebanese success story and amended EUMEDCONNECT3 contract terms are expected to further encourage R&E networking activity in Jordan and Palestine. Jordan is already connected at 155 Mbps by ASREN using EUMEDCONNECT3 funding. Further upgrades are expected to support the SESAME synchrotron radiation facility as it enters production phase and the Jordan R&E community starts to take advantage of the connectivity.
Palestine is also keen to re-join the international R&E networking community. Plans are underway to establish a 155 Mbps international link with EUMEDCONNECT3 funding and with other donors, such as the Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organisation.
The EU-funded EUMEDCONNECT project supports R&E networking for the Eastern Mediterranean (Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine). Now in its 3rd phase, it provides high-capacity international internet connectivity for academic and scientific collaborations. The project is run by the GÉANT organisation in partnership with ASREN, the local NRENs (National Research and Education Networks) and the NRENs of Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy and Spain.
Through its earlier phases the EUMEDCONNECT programme also provided a regional R&E network for North Africa, with Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia benefiting since 2004. In July 2015, the North African countries became partners in the new AfricaConnect2 project, also managed by GÉANT and ASREN. Close links with the EUMEDCONNECT3 community are being maintained as the two projects bring the African and Arab R&E communities together.
Arab States Research and Education Network (ASREN) website