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University TV Interchange Network launched at UnB

The project points to the fulfillment of an old dream of integration

The University TV Interchange Network (Ritu) was launched at University of Brasília (UnB), on Wednesday, December 13. The pilot project for the development of a system of digitalization, sharing, storage and distribution of university TV programs through Ipê network was introduced in the presence of Mr. Timothy Mulholland, UnB’s Director; Mr. Ronaldo Mota, secretary of MEC’s Distance Learning; Mr. Mário Borgneth, advisor to the Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil; Mr. Gabriel Priolli, president of University TV Brazilian Association (ABTU) and RNP’s Director, Mr. Nelson Simões.

Mr. Priolli declared that the partnership between ABTU and RNP opens doors to the fulfillment of a dream the Brazilian University TV has been dreaming for a whole decade. “ABTU itself results from a joint effort to combine forces and overcome barriers,” Mr. Priolli recalled.

At present, there are 120 university TVs in Brazil, out of which only 50 are content producers. According to Mr. Priolli, they have to deal with scarce resources to produce good quality programs in sufficient number to meet the demands of all channels. Ritu aims to allow all TVs to share their programs with the elaboration of a national schedule to be used by any university channel, integrally or locally adapted. Mr. Priolli also highlighted RNP’s sensitivity and broad vision to establish the partnership in order to make this project possible.

Director Nelson Simões remarked that the feasibility of RNP’s cooperation with Ritu Project results from previous works. Ipê network is a broadcast infrastructure of national data based on optical technology, whose installation and operation were studied in the experimental Giga Project. It allows the traffic of a great amount of data – a requirement for the innovative use of applications in education and research. Yet, the servers network of digital video distribution that is going to be used in Ritu Project is an outcome of the pilot developed by Digital Video Laboratory(Lavid), at Federal University of Paraíba(UFPB ) in one RNP’s working group.

Mr. Mário Borgneth, advisor to Minister Gilberto Gil, compared this academic event to the First National Forum of Public TVs. From the perspective of the Ministry of Culture, Ritu may represent an open door for the creation of other TV networks: for the Legislative Power, for the communities, etc. The goal of the forum is to promote reflection to define a plan for development, allocating the necessary tools and resources to public TVs. “University TV is in the vanguard, and Ritu Project provides the environment for partnerships,” Mr. Borgneth stated.

Mr. Ronaldo Mota emphasized the importance of the infovias as an infrastructure which will help to build up a new profile of the Brazilian educational system. He also declared that Ministry of Education (MEC) is an integral and complete partner of the project, and that he hopes to see all the federal institutions of higher learning- IFES- as well as the federal technical schools- CEFET- as producers and consumers of the university TVs products. “Ritu creates conditions to stimulate the cultural audiovisual, educational and scientific production. It adds a new dimension to the Brazilian infovias,” Mr. Mota declared.

[RNP, 12.14.2006]

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