Feds spend $40 million on networking

More than a third of the federal government's $158 million dollar BITS (Building on IT Strengths) program will be dedicated to the development of network technology, the government has announced.

IT minister Senator Richard Alston has outlined the Advanced Network Program, a $40 million attempt to stimulate the development of networking technology.

The ANP is designed to promote experimentation in networking technology and advanced applications, and promote the use of advanced networks in regional areas, he said.

BITS spokesman Don Scavone said the government expected most applicants for the networking R and D grants would be "consortia" made up of university research and development centres, networking industry co-operative research centres and private networking companies. The government would award separate research grants of between four $4 million and $15 million. Between three and 10 applicants would be awarded research grants, he said.

Scavone said the government would not specify any requirements of those consortia. However, he said it was unlikely any grants would be awarded already technology-enabled carriers that applied.

"This program is about getting companies who are developing new technologies," he said.

Applications for the Advanced Network Program close on December 12.

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