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Ellalink: inauguration of the submarine fibre cable linking Europe and Latin America

Pubblicato il 24 June 2021

On 1 June 2021, on the occasion of the "Leading the Digital Decade" event in Porto, the EllaLink transatlantic fibre optic cable was officially inaugurated, the first to directly connect Europe (the GÉANT network) and Latin America (the RedClara network).

The transatlantic cable, funded by the EU through the BELLA program (Building the Europe Link to Latin America), is the result of years of collaboration of the research community of the two continents and of the partnership between the EU and Latin America.

Federico Ruggieri, Consortium GARR, Director

With its approximately 6000 km, the submarine cable that connects Sines, in Portugal, with Fortaleza in Brazil, represents a milestone for scientific and academic collaboration between the two continents. This digital bridge, of which Ellalink is the first important piece, is an important contribution to breaking down the digital divide present in the South American continent, which so far has seen almost all of its data traffic pass through North America, in a condition of infrastructural monopoly.

The impact of this new digital infrastructure is unprecedented, both in the field of research and education, and in the economic and social sphere.

  • - The BELLA program will support the long-term interconnectivity needs of the European and Latin American research and education communities for the next 25 years. Thanks to the program it will be possible to reach 65 million users in more than 12 000 institutions in Europe and Latin America.
  • - For the digital and space sector, BELLA will facilitate access to space data provided by the Copernicus program and from large facilities on both continents (e.g. astronomical and cosmic ray observatories in Latin America, the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), and the great hadron collision ring (LHC) in Europe).
  • - In general, the population of Latin America will benefit from faster connectiviy at a lower cost.
  • - Companies in the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean will be able to seize the opportunities of the data economy, particularly in the fields of cloud computing and telemedicine, and new technologies such as artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, Earth observation, epidemiological monitoring and COVID-19 treatments.
  • - BELLA will facilitate the sharing of high-performance computing and Earth observation data between the two regions.

The BELLA program was created to meet the connectivity needs of research and education in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and is composed of the BELLA-S and BELLA-T projects. The first concerns the actual construction of the new Ellalink submarine cable, while BELLA-T envisages the completion of the high-capacity connection of the research networks in Latin America, increasing the capillarity and making possible an equal access capacity to the network for the entire education and research community of the continent, connecting Brazil, through the cities of Fortaleza, San Paolo and Porto Alegre; Argentina, through Buenos Aires; Chile, through Santiago; Ecuador, via Guayaquil; Colombia, through Bogotá and Cucuta to the border with Venezuela, and Cartagena.

GARR, the Italian research and education network, has been part of this adventure from the very beginning, in the role of coordinator of the preparatory project (ELLA) and as partner on the European side of the BELLA consortium and of the BELLA-T project, co-financed by the European Union.

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