BELLA (Building Europe Link to Latin America) consortium, whose leading investor is the European Commission, has signed a contract agreement with EllaLink, a private consortium, to launch the deployment of an underwater fibre optic cable connecting Europe and Latin America.
The cable should provide reliable high capacity connectivity that will boost business, scientific and cultural exchanges between the two continents.
This new digital data highway is scheduled to be ready for use in 2020. The cable will guarantee high capacity transmission and run between Portugal and Brazil, with plans to extend connectivity to both Latin America and within the EU.
This transatlantic link will provide researchers and companies with facility for the development of the data economy. It should strengthen the links between research and education networks in the two continents, enabling new collaborative activities. This will be a step ahead in the creation of an EU–Latin America common research area and will support innovation and knowledge-sharing, for instance in improved earth observation services.
In addition to the construction of the undersea cable, BELLA will support improved interconnectivity between Latin American networks for research and education, and will finance sections of the cable running between countries in the region. This will reduce Latin America’s digital divide with Europe and internally.
The signature of the contract is a key milestone in connecting Europe and Latin America. Construction of the underwater cable will only start once the contract enters into force. This is expected to happen shortly.
The European Commission is investing around €26.5 million alongside the group of public stakeholders that form the BELLA consortium.
The BELLA consortium is composed of 11 European and Latin American research and education networks from Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain, together with the regional networks RedCLARA, the Latin American research & education network, and GÉANT, the pan-European research and education network.