For over 12 years GOETEC, formerly the Kent MAN Ltd, has been working closely with Jisc and the Kent Public Service Network (KPSN), to ensure all connected tertiary sector sites in the region enjoy reliable network service and are able to take full advantage of the shared cross public sector procurement opportunities available to them. We work on behalf of our members to ensure the development of services which promote and facilitate collaborative working and the sharing of effective practice.
The Kentish MAN was established in 1998-99. The strategy to use Regional Networks, in the context of Janet (UK), was an essential component of the provision of network services to institutions. Initially four Kent-based HEIs collaborated – Canterbury Christ Church University, University of Greenwich, University of Kent and Imperial College London. Phase I of the Kentish MAN initiative provided connectivity to the main sites from Canterbury to Wye via Chatham. At this point, there was the opportunity to expand the network and the Kent Institute of Art and Design (KIAD) joined the collaboration.
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 and provided additional resilience by ‘completing the ring’ from Wye to Canterbury. A decision was made to form a not-for-profit company to operate the network and 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, meaning 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 funding from HEFCE. 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 and this allowed the completion of the last FEC upgrade, 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. KCN2 connected to the Kentish MAN at Maidstone and Canterbury. In October 2006, two 10Gbps connections at the Medway and Canterbury PoPs went live and the core network capacity was doubled to 2Gbps. The Kentish MAN was the first regional network to do so.
In June 2007, UKERNA became JANET(UK) an embarked upon a neew contract with the regional network operators. This was know as the JANET Partner Agreement (JPA) and came into force in 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 KPSN for connectivity in the region. The transition was completed in the summer 2011. The Board felt there was value in continuing to bring the community together and in making sure the new arrangement for connectivity in the region worked 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 Ltd 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 as a result of 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. We continue to encourage other FHEIs to join the Consortium which, at the very least, provides 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 in Canterbury. A key activity for the Consortium is to represent the interests of the FHE community in 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 included 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.