The BELLA Consortium(Building the Europe Link to Latin America), announced the formalization of agreements for the construction of a direct submarine cable that will connect Europe and Latin America. The entry into the European space will take place in Sines.

The connection through the new submarine fibre optic cable - EllaLink - will enable the creation of a research and education network between the two continents during the entire lifetime of the system. The deployment of the fibre-optic infrastructure that will connect the two regions between the connection points of Sines (Portugal) and Fortaleza (Brazil) will begin in the early months of 2019.

The process will begin with a study of the ocean floor to determine the length of the cable. Then, the manufacture of the cable system begins. According to forecasts, the first data packets will begin to be transmitted at the end of 2020.

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According to GÉANT CEO Erik Huizer, this is "an important milestone in the BELLA Programme (initiative for building a direct link between Europe and Latin America). Through this cable system, communication capacity between the research and education communities in Europe and Latin America will be increased. In this way, added Huizer, this project will make it possible to promote "open science and the exchange of knowledge, with a strong impact on earth observation services, especially Copernicus .

According to Erik Huizer, the benefits of this joint initiative will not stop at research and education. "I believe that the positive repercussions of the programme will reach not only the scientific research and education sector in global, but society as a whole"he reinforced.7 Direct Landing Operations 11 FCCN Computing Unit

The same opinion is shared by RedCLARA's CEO, Luis Eliécer Cadenas, for whom the new connection will also bring positive impacts for the economy of both regions. " This is a very important achievement within this project of boosting cooperation between Latin America and Europe". The new connection, he stressed, will strengthen "research activities for both continents and, from a broader point of view, has the potential to impact the economic growth of both regions through innovation", he celebrated.

For this reason, notes GÉANT's Head of Procurement and Head of Procurement for BELLA, Paul Rouse, this is a "flagship" project, as it is "the result of an entirely new model for providing strategic intercontinental connectivity to the research and education sectors. Among the benefits highlighted by Rouse are "the flexibility, cost effectiveness and capacity required to meet the needs of researchers and academics in their regions".

About the Bella Project
BELLA(Building the Europe Link with Latin America) is a project that aims to address the long term connectivity needs of the European and Latin American research and education communities . Thus, the project ensures theIndefeasible Right of Use (IRU) of a direct submarine cable between the two regions, as well as the implementation of a research and education network with 100Gbps capacity throughout Latin America.

This is a project implemented by a Consortium of Regional Research and Education Networks made up of GÉANT (Europe) and RedCLARA (Latin American NREN), and the National Academic Networks (NRENs) of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal (Unit FCCN) and Spain.

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The BELLA project is funded by the European Union through the Horizon 2020 programme, as well as by CEDIA (Ecuador), REUNA (Chile), RENATA (Colombia) and RNP (Brazil). Together, the networks contribute 30% of the cost of access to the EllaLink transatlantic cable, besides contributing significantly to the upgrade of the RedCLARA regional network in South America.

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