Reporter 425, 19 October 1998

No more slow bytes to China

An electronic link providing UK universities with instant access to over 450 Chinese universities has been set up to improve communications and technology transfer between the countries.

The establishment of the link follows the visit of a Chinese delegation to the University in July, when it saw how Leeds is pioneering a high-speed computer network project in the Yorkshire and Humberside region. The direct link between the UK joint academic network (JANET) and the Chinese education and research network (CERNET) was plugged in on October 7.

The new link will significantly improve the quality of on-line service between the countries, which previously had to pass through congested undersea lines and across jammed North American networks. There are about 750 collaborative links between UK and Chinese higher education institutions, for research, language and other programmes. These will be aided by the direct contact, which will also help the development of distance learning applications, flexible teaching and learning and will allow Chinese and UK students and staff working abroad to maintain contact with their home institution.

The project is being funded jointly for three years by CERNET and HEFCE, with sponsorship from Cable and Wireless and China Telecom.

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