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NBN to Crunch SKA

The data volume flowing from the SKA can’t possibly be stored and kept long-term

The data volume flowing from the SKA can’t possibly be stored and kept long-term. Credit: CSIRO

By Dennis Godfrey

The National Broadband Network will help scientists access the huge amounts of data generated by the Square Kilometre Array.

Dennis Godfrey is a Senior Communication Adviser within the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

The speed and ubiquity of the National Broadband Network (NBN) will revolutionise how we connect with each other, with massive benefits to society, including in the major fields of aged care, health, business, education – and science.

One of the most important areas of cooperation between the US$2 billion Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope and the NBN initiative has been the Australian government’s $250 million NBN Regional Backbone Blackspots Program (RBBP), which has delivered 6000 km of competitive fibre backbone across regional Australia.

While the RBBP is connecting towns, cities and rural areas to each other and the wider world – benefiting around 400,000 people – its completion allows telescope arrays to take advantage of the 426 km fibre link between Perth and Geraldton in Western Australia. This connects to an existing link from Geraldton to the remote SKA observatory site in a vast area of outback Western Australia that was identified by the Australian Communications and Media Authority as a “radio quiet zone” that has very low levels of radiofrequency energy because of its sparse population and remote location.

While the NBN looks to the future of Australian communication, AARNet is already providing the high-speed broadband necessary for gazing into the mysteries of the past. This will change the face of astronomy.

The...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.