The Kentish MAN was established with funding from the HEFCE MAN initiative of 1998-99, in the context of Janet (UK) strategy to use Regional Networks as an essential component of the provision of network services to institutions. Initially four Kent-based HEIs collaborated to draw up a specification and agreed how the funding would be sourced. Phase I of the Kentish MAN initiative provided connectivity to the main sites from Canterbury to Wye via Chatham. Before the completion of Phase I, there was the opportunity to expand the network under the HEFCE MAN initiative for 1999-2000, and the Kent Institute of Art and Design (KIAD) joined the consortium, At the same time the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University took the opportunity to extend their links within the network to include some of their subsidiary campuses.
The Kentish MAN’s role in the delivery of network services to Higher and Further Education in Kent became a key part of UKERNA’s strategy for SuperJANET4. In October 1999 the five HEI’s in Kent signed a Memorandum of Understanding to form a consortium to operate the Kentish MAN which was funded by UKERNA. This was known as Phase III and provided additional resilience by ‘completing the ring’ from Wye to Canterbury.
The consortium was requested to sign a contract with UKERNA to operate the network from 1st October 2001. As a result it was decided to form a not-for-profit company, Kent MAN limited, to operate the network under an RPAN contract with UKERNA. Kent MAN Limited was established in April 2002. Canterbury Christ Church University, University of Greenwich, Imperial College London, University of Kent and Kent Institute of Art & Design were the founder members of the Kentish MAN consortium and became members of Kent MAN limited when the company was established.
One of the responsibilities of Kent MAN Limited was to manage the connections to various nominated organisations in the region including the FE Colleges in Kent. An upgrade plan was designed to accommodate the requirements of the Kent New Technology Institute (KNTI) and capital funding was provided. This resulted in the ability to upgrade the network links to most FE College sites which meant they were able to connect to the MAN rather than the University of London Computer Centre. Resilience was also increased in parts of the network.
In 2004, Kent MAN Limited was awarded additional SuperJANET4 funding from HEFCE. This resulted in the first stage of Kentish MAN II. Gigabit links using BT Wavestream circuits were installed between Canterbury and Chatham and between Chatham and the University of Greenwich at their Avery Hill campus. This allowed the completion of the last FEC upgrade under the KNTI programme, the link to North West Kent College at Dartford.
For some time, Kent MAN Limited had been seeking to work with other partners in Kent and this procurement coincided with a new rollout of the Kent Community Network (KCN2) which provided connections to schools and libraries in Kent. A Gigabit Wavestream link was provided from Chatham to the KCC EIS Centre in Maidstone. UKERNA provided backhaul for KCN2 via the Kentish MAN’s SuperJANET4 connection. KCN2 connected to the Kentish MAN at Maidstone and Canterbury. The HEFCE SuperJANET4 funding was augmented by members of Kent MAN Limited, mainly for the Maidstone to Canterbury connection.
In October 2006, two 10Gbps connections from the Kentish MAN to SuperJANET5 (SJ5) at the Medway and Canterbury PoPs went live. The Kentish MAN was the first regional network to do so. The core network capacity was doubled to 2Gbps.
In June 2007 UKERNA became JANET (UK) and embarked upon a new contract with the regional network operators. This was known as the JANET Partner Agreement (JPA) and came into force on1st October 2008. JANET(UK) gave notice that the JPA would not be extended beyond the end of September 2011, and as a result Kent MAN Limited worked closely with JANET(UK) and KPSN to transition sites in Kent to use the Kent Public Service Network (KPSN) for connectivity in the region. The transition was completed in the summer 2011.
An option for the Kent MAN Board would have been to wind up the company following the termination of the JPA. However, the Board felt that GOETEC had value in bringing the community together, and in making sure the new arrangement for connectivity in the region work well and provided a high quality service. With the change of responsibility from an operational focus running a network, the Board decided to rename the company and, on 1st October 2011, GOETEC Limited was born.
Between 2011-2017 GOETEC Ltd worked to bring the Universities and Colleges together to share expertise and good practice, explore possible shared services and to participate in the management and operation of the KPSN network that provided the infrastructure for FHE throughout this period. This partnership also continued to provide the links into the high capacity national JISC network, to onward global connections and the Internet. Throughout this period the FHE community enjoyed very reliable and resilient network services by GOETEC’s strong participation in the collective procurement across the Kent public sector through KPSN.
In 2017 the members of GOETEC Ltd decided that continuing as a company was no longer cost effective and they formed the GOETEC Consortium. The members of the Consortium to date are University of Kent, University of Greenwich, Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent County Council and East Kent Colleges Group. Other FHEIs are to be encouraged to join the Consortium not least to continue to enjoy the benefits of being part of the KPSN-JISC Infrastructure with access to the collective procurement contracts provisioned by KPSN and their suppliers – Capita-DUCL. The GOETEC Consortium has a new Mission Statement and working objectives summarised on our Homepage. The GOETEC Consortium is now based at the University of Kent. A key activity for the Consortium is to represent the interests of the FHE community in KPSN and forthcoming work to upgrade and improve the KPSN infrastructure including a new high capacity core network with links to the 3 Universities, the Colleges and to JISC. Key work areas in 2019 include; improving cyber security, identification of CPD opportunities for IS/IT staff, a programme of digital events, knowledge exchange workshops and identification of good practice among the IS/IT community.