Next generation networks

Scientists from India and the UK are to collaborate in a project to bring online education, early weather warnings and healthcare systems to rural areas in both countries.



The £9m ‘Next Generation Networks’ project has been set up by the UK and Indian governments to explore how existing technology infrastructures, such as copper cable networks, could be integrated into a new optical infrastructure to provide long-term benefits.



In addition to improving the current infrastructure, the project will examine how technologies such as wireless sensor networks could be used to deliver real-time data on topics including earthquakes and pollution.



The five-year project will be led by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) alongside telecoms company BT, with £2.5m made available by Research Councils UK (RCUK) to establish a virtual research centre.



RCUK’s funding will be matched by the Indian government’s Department of Science and Technology (DST) and a further £4m will be provided by a consortium of academic and industrial partners.



John Hand, head of digital economy at the EPSRC, said: ‘Next generation networks will be the new building blocks of the future digital economy.


‘Both UK and India are looking to the future, to develop economies based around skilled, high-value industries.


‘This also offers a great opportunity for UK business in what is still a growing market.’