The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias formalizes the contract to strengthen submarine digital connectivity

View of the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (ORM) at dawn. Credit: Daniel López / IAC
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The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has formalized with Telefónica de España the contract to carry out the project “ Redundancy of the Optical Maritime Network of the Iris Network” , financed with the investment “Despliegue de infraestructuras digitales transfronterizas” (C15.I5) del Plan de Recuperación. The project is planned to last for two years.

The IAC manages the Canary Observatories, which comprise the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (ORM) on La Palma, and the Teide Observatory (OT) on Tenerife, which house telescopes and instruments from some 60 institutions belonging to over 20 countries. The headquartersand the observatories are linked by the high performance optical network supplied RedIRIS. Strengthening the connectivity between the observatories will help to attract international investments fornew and more advanced telescopes at the IAC.

The solution of contracted connectivity guarantees the IAC the lease of the rights of use of this infrastructure for a period of 25 years, during which time the company making the loan is commited to the operation, maintenance and renovation of the infrastructure. This is a solution of complete redundancy  for the infrastructure deployed now, with a bandwidth guaranteed from end to end capable of satisfying the current digitral communication needs of the IAC, and of the new telescopes under development for the observatories, such as the European Solar Telescope (EST) and the New Robotic Telescope (NRT).

Gender equality is among the criteria for assigning the contract. According to the guidelines of the Organizaton for Cooperation and Economic Developement (OCED) the degree of employment of women TIC specialists  among the bidding companies, which give rise to solutions with a wider technological base, and can therefore offer greater economic value and with a greater technological impact than those with exclusively male participation.

The proejct had been financed with funds from the Plan for Recovery, Transformation and Resilience, through the Secretariat of State for Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructures (SETELECO) within the deployment of the Agenda España Digital 2026. This activity will not only improve the quality and resilience of the RedIRIS in the Canary achipelago, it will also facilitate the renovation of the infrastructures of digital connectivity between the islands and continental Europe, and the development of new routes for wideband services.

The implementation of the contract, once assigned, will be compemented with the project aimed at strengthening the capacity and redundancy of the RedIRIÇSÇ in the islands of Tenerife and La Palma, also funded by the Plan for Recovery. With this second project, the General Administration of the State will complete its actions to consolidate the Canary Observatories as centres of reference for the study of astrophysics in the Northern Hemisphere in the coming decades, supporting innovation and the development of the knowledge based society in the Canaries, and the diversification and resilience of the island economy.

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