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BASE2 - Broadband Access Satellite Enabled Education

Exploitable results

The scope of BASE2 project was to support key EU policies and validate space technology for public services and applications having a key economic and social impact at EuropeanUnion level in the field of education (distance learning). The overall objective of this project was the implementation of an end-to-end system for tele-education applications, integrating broadband terrestrial networks with satellite broadband technologies. Aim of the project is to facilitate the sustainable provision of integrated tele-education services and applications to a large number of distributed interconnected sites over a variety of telecommunication infrastructures. Within the framework of the project the seamless integration and the interoperability of low-cost satellite telecommunications infrastructures with broadband terrestrial systems will be investigated. On the 31st of August 2008 the third and last year of BASE2, was concluded bringing this way the project to its end. During this last year a lot of significant actions have been taken in order to bring the project to a successful end; having fulfilled all its initial goals. It can be said that all the initial objectives of the project as planned at the beginning were achieved and the perspectives for a successful exploitation of its' results in the future are really visible. To summarise the results achieved this third year: - Some last technical solutions were implemented contributing this way to the full deployment of the network used. - A big number of trials were organised and took place during all this period. - The whole platform was tested and validated. - Network and software efficiency were estimated and technical modifications were implemented were performance could be enhanced. - Users' sense and ease of using such innovative processes was evaluated. - ?Lots of users who did not have a prior relation with technology can be said to have gained a great useful experience. - The quality of the content was validated and users' demands on specific topics were registered, providing this way an experience on what kind of information can be interesting and beneficial for these communities. - The effectiveness of e -learning was explored. - Dissemination activities informed a lot of people on the achievements of this project. The networks are deployed and the interoperability between them is assured and tested. Adequate satellite bandwidth is provided, so high quality video lessons are delivered both online and offline to at least four tele-educational sites simultaneously. Tele-educational content has been generated, uploaded and is of high quality. Having used experts' studies and after fulfilling users' demands content is right to the point in Greek agrarians and maritime workers needs, satisfying the user groups it is intended to. So this creates the expectation of easy and cheap access for a large number of people of both communities to knowledge and issues critical to them. The evaluation of the services provided to the communities t hat was carried out during all this third period, the validation of the content and the evaluation of users' acceptance and of the learning efficiency, provides an experience which can be exploited so that future platform implementations will very satisfyingly cover learning needs of such remote communities. It is expected that the tele-training of an initial number of users will establish a precedent and create a critical mass of remote agrarian and maritime users wishing to use the new technologies in order to educate themselves in useful subjects using alluring new means of training. Dissemination from this critical mass is to play a very active role in the wide spreading of e-learning to traditional layers of the Greek remote community, thus creating a positive side-effect to basic computer literacy in non -technologically privileged communities as well as providing high level professional training. For the first time at least in Greek and Cyprus, an end -to-end system has been created through the convergence and interoperability of heterogeneous networks (VSAT, DVB -S, DVB-RCS) and broadband terrestrial networks (Wi-Fi, WiMAX, xDSL), providing broadband access to remote areas and users. This has created in fact a backbone of satellite systems on which terrestrial networks connect in order to create a seamless network infrastructure system. In our case the services provided are educational services. However, this infrastructure can also be used for other purposes (e.g. telemedicine or access to knowledge databases for the isolated areas). Since the xDSL infrastructure for the remote areas demands an extensive investment for backhaul, the above scenarios appear especially alluring in Greece and other countries with many isolated areas, like agrarian mountain villages and dispersed islands. Contacts with Greek ministries, peripheral authorities, local municipalities and interested investors create the expectation and belief that the project results will be soon adopted and exploited by the Greek state or in a form of a spinoff company in order to provide a wider range of services in a large number of regions.