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Speech by the Hon. Henry Tang, GBS, JP Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology at Internet2* Launching Ceremony cum Symposium

Mr. Large, Mr. Cheung, Mr. Butcher, Mr. Sum, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to attend the Internet2 Launching Ceremony today. The launch of the connection of the Joint Universities Computer Centre's network to the Internet2 backbone in the US indeed marks a momentous milestone in the development of advanced Internet technologies in Hong Kong.

2. If we look back at the mid nineties, the Internet had only just emerged and was far from prevalent as it is now. Today, it has become a part of our life. 53% of our households have their personal computers connected to the Internet. Many of us use the Internet on a daily basis for entertainment, information and communication with others etc. With the exponential growth in the number of Internet users worldwide, and the ever expanding range of web-based applications and services, improvement in the quality of Internet service in terms of transmission speed, reliability and system capacity is something that users look forward to, and those in the academia and industry are working towards.

3. As we all know, the Internet emanated from the academia. Today, the academia is spearheading the research in the next generation of Internet technologies. The next generation advanced network, with its guarantee of quality of service, promises to enable the deployment of advanced applications on the Internet to meet our growing demands.

4. With the launch of Hong Kong's connection to the Internet2 backbone in the US, our academic community can now conduct collaborative research on applications and services using the next generation of Internet technologies, expediting the introduction of such advanced applications and services into Hong Kong.

5. In fact, since its establishment last October, our link with the Internet2 backbone in the US has been used between local and US universities to support research projects which involve transmission of timely and large volume of data, such as weather information and DNA databases, videoconferencing and multicast programmes. It was also used to support a series of real time, interactive virtual classroom sessions between Hong Kong and Canadian students during the ITU TELECOM Asia 2002 last December.

6. I must acknowledge the tremendous contributions of the Joint Universities Computer Centre for keeping Hong Kong at the forefront of IT development globally.

7. Finally, I would also like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to PCCW Limited and Cisco Systems (HK) Limited for their generous sponsorship for the establishment of Hong Kong's Internet2 link, without which we would not have been able to turn the link into reality. Together with the academia and our industry partners, we are changing how networks are used and how computing is done.

8. Thank you.

Thurday, February 20, 2003

* Internet2 and the Internet2 logo are registered trademarks of the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development