SWITCH can look back on an eventful history that is inextricably linked to the rapid growth of information and communications technology (ICT) since the 1990s.
SWITCH at a glance
- SWITCH develops and refines ICT solutions primarily for the academic community, but it also serves clients in other fields.
- SWITCH sets itself apart through an approach in which services are created in partnership with the community.
- SWITCH’s core competencies are in networks, security and identity management. Its services are coordinated with and complementary to each other.
- SWITCH plays an active part in international research networks as well as various technological initiatives and projects.
- SWITCH brought the Internet to Switzerland and is still responsible for the registry of domain names ending in .ch and .li, which are considered to be among the most secure in the world. It is represented worldwide in the leading Internet organisations.
- SWITCH supports Swiss businesses in the fight against cybercrime.
- SWITCH is a foundation under private law with around 100 staff.
Formed in 1987
The federal parliament approved a funding programme in 1985 to encourage computerisation and networking among Swiss education and research institutions. Some CHF 15 million of the money was set aside for creating teleinformatics services for teaching and research. Aided by this funding programme, the Confederation joined forces with the eight cantons that had universities at the time to form the foundation SWITCH – Teleinformatics services for teaching and research in 1987.
The purpose of the foundation
The foundation's purpose was set out as follows in the Foundation Deed: "The foundation has as its objective to create, promote and offer the necessary basis for the effective use of modern methods of telecomputing in teaching and research in Switzerland, to be involved in and to support such methods. It is a non-profit foundation that does not pursue commercial aims."
These days, SWITCH sees itself as a neutral technology and service platform for the Swiss universities that coordinates and performs special tasks in the following ICT fields: security, identity, networks, Internet, software procurement, cloud services, e-learning and video management. Its services are designed and developed in close collaboration with the universities.
SWITCH is guided by the values of solidarity and subsidiarity. Solidarity means that SWITCH offers identical terms throughout Switzerland. Subsidiarity means that SWITCH only takes on tasks within the academic community that individual universities are unable or unwilling to perform themselves and where providing shared services makes sense.
2013 SWITCH receives Best of Swiss Web Honorary Award for its services to Internet development and the ICT industry; 1.9 million domain names; Swiss parliament chooses SWITCH know-how
2009 Subsidiary switchplus incorporated
2008 AAI project completed, AAA/SWITCH launched
2002 SWITCHlambda: significant expansion thanks to Swiss Federal Railways' fibre-optics
2000 Services rolled out to universities of applied sciences and teacher education
1991 SWITCH-CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team) formed
1990 SWITCH becomes Switzerland's first Internet service provider
1988 University network SWITCHlan created with maximum bandwidth of 128 Kbps, bringing the Internet to Switzerland
1987 SWITCH foundation formed