CANARIE chief assures universities and colleges using its network that despite budget cuts, they do not have to pay additional fees

No new connection fees for schools: CANARIE

The industry ministery has approved CANARIE’s cost-recovery plan and universities and colleges connected to the ultra-high speed network of the government-funded, non-profit organization will not have to pay any additional fees.

When the Harper government announced funding cuts last spring there were concerns that CANARIE may have to levy additional connection fees in order to comply with Industry Canada’s request that the agency to map out a cost-recovery strategy to meet the roughly $3 million a year in federal funding it had lost.

Today, Jim Roche, CEO of CANARIE, issued a statement, saying Minister of Industry Christian Paradis has approved its plan, which calls for $11.72 million in total cost to recover over the course of CANARIE’s mandate.

During the course of a consultation process it carried out, Roche said, CANARIE looked into the option of levying a fee to research and education institutions connected to the organization’s network and found there was no need burden them with additional charges.

“Information gathered through the consultation demonstrated that these institutions are already paying for access to the network through fees to their provincial and territorial networks, and that the balance between institutional, provincial and federal investments in national research and education network is reasonable,” Roche said in a statement. “CANARIE will not be levying additional connection fees.”

CANARIE provides the fibre optic backbone that connects provincial and territorial research networks like British Columbia’s BCnet and Ontario’s ORION and to other networks around the world. Institutions who are members pay an annual $2,500 fee.

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Through CANARIE, researchers in one end of the country can connect to another. It also allows Canadian researchers to connect to international projects, such as the CERN particle physics laboratory in Switzerland.

Over the past five years, traffic on the CANARIE network increased 587 per cent, and is expected to increase tenfold within the next five years.

Approval of the cost-recovery plan also means that funding to CANARIE for years two and three of its current mandate will be released. Funding for CANARIE’s three-year mandate is $62 million, or $20.7 million a year.

Prior to the budget cut, CANARIE was receiving $24 million a year.

The approval of the plan and release of funding for CANARIE was welcomed by at least one university official.

“CANARIE’s national and international network linkages are fundamental enablers of world-class collaboration, data intensive research and a critical component of Canada’s national research and education network,” said Dr. Paul Young, vice-president of research and innovation at the University of Toronto. ”I am pleased that CANARIE will continue to evolve the national backbone network and the investments made by connected institutions and provincial and territorial networks were recognized.”
(With notes from Howard Solomon)

 

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