Bell Canada Builds Research Net

Optical Regional Advanced Network of Ontario signs a deal with Bell Canada to build the Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network

December 16, 2002

2 Min Read

TORONTO -- The formation of one of the world's largest optical research and education networks took a step forward today as the Optical Regional Advanced Network of Ontario (ORANO) and Bell Canada announced a $25 million contract to deliver optical fibre and equipment for the Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION), which spans 3,700 kilometres and will link Ontario's major educational institutions and research facilities. "ORION will transform the way Ontario researchers and organizations collaborate with each other and their colleagues around the world," said Dr. Ross Paul, president of the University of Windsor and Chairman of ORANO, which owns and operates the network. "ORION brings, for the first time, access to the world's top high-speed research networks to all regions of the province," he said. The agreements announced today conclude discussions between ORANO, Bell Canada and a group of allied companies, including Hydro One Telecom, Nortel Networks, Cisco Systems and several regional telecom providers. This arrangement enables ORANO to build and maintain its own broadband fibre network infrastructure. ORION will link 21 communities across Ontario. Laid end-to-end, ORION's total optical fibre would stretch to 8,200 kilometres, the equivalent of one fifth of the Earth's circumference, making it one of the largest and most powerful research networks ever built. No other fully-owned and operated research network matches the size and scope of ORION. The network backbone features Nortel Network's OPTera* Long Haul 1600 Optical Line System and Cisco System's state-of-the-art 7600 series routers. Two individual strands of fibre-optic cable, which ORION has acquired for 20 years, form the physical backbone of the network, inter-connecting each of the network's 22 points of presence. The Ontario Ministry of Enterprise, Opportunity and Innovation and Ontario's SuperBuild Corporation are ORION's primary funding partner, with an investment of $32.3 million. The federal government has invested $3.4 million through CANARIE, Canada's Advanced Internet Development Organization, which operates CA*net4. Additional private and public sector investments over the next three years will bring the value of the ORION project to over $78 million. It is anticipated that ORION will be fully operational by Spring 2003. Bell Canada

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