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BELLA: EllaLink cable gets go-ahead

Contract for the construction of the EllaLink sea cable system signed: the new link will connect Europe and Latin America in 2020

Roma, 08/01/2019 – GÉANT e RedCLARA on behalf of the BELLA (Building the Europe Link to Latin America) Consortium, are delighted to announce that EllaLink and Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) have finalised agreements for the construction of the EllaLink submarine fibre optic cable system that will provide direct connectivity between Europe and Latin America. Through the agreement with EllaLink, BELLA will receive spectrum on the new submarine cable, to support research and education networking between the two continents, for the lifetime of the system.

Construction of the EllaLink fibre optic cable system, which will link the two regions between landing stations in Sines, Portugal, and Fortaleza, Brazil, will begin in early 2019. The process will start with a survey of the ocean floor to determine the cable route, followed by the manufacture of the cable system. In the meanwhile, the landing stations’ exact locations will be identified and made available in time for completion of the marine installation. It is forecast that the first data packets will start flowing across the EllaLink submarine cable system by the end of 2020.

The Italian Research and Education Network, GARR, played a key role in developing the initial project for this new low-latency link (which will bridge more than 5.500 km of ocean as the bird flies) and is deeply involved in its implementation as the European co-chair of the BELLA consortium and of BELLA-T project, co-funded by the EC, which supports the link's construction. “Thanks to GARR's action, which started 10 years ago and never stopped, for the first time on this scale the world of academic networks became the supporter of a public-private partnership for the creation of an infrastructure that directly links two continents", declared Fernando Liello, the European co-chair of the BELLA consortium. “The project will have a terrific impact not only on Research, but also on the commercial and social implications of the relationship between these continents, so close in their origins but so far apart.

Erik Huizer, CEO for GÉANT commented: “We are delighted to celebrate with our partners this very significant milestone for the BELLA Programme that, over this cable system, will provide reserved capacity between European and Latin American research and education communities, supporting open science and knowledge-sharing, with a strong impact on Earth Observation services, especially Copernicus. I believe that the programme’s positive repercussions will benefit not only Research & Education at global level, but also society at large”.

Luis Eliécer Cadenas, CEO for RedCLARA said: ”This is a very important achievement in the goal to increase cooperation between Latin America and Europe. The new connection will help to generate more research activities for both regions and, from a wider point of view, it has the potential to impact economic growth through innovation”.

Paul Rouse, Head of Procurement at GÉANT and procurement lead for BELLA, concluded: “This is the outcome of an entirely new model for delivering strategic inter-continental research and education connectivity for both GÉANT and RedCLARA. It is a landmark project that will provide us with the flexibility, cost efficiency and capacity required to support and meet the needs of researchers and academics in Europe and Latin America”.



GARR is the high-capacity National Research and Education Network in Italy. It offers high performance dedicated connectivity and advanced services to the national scientific, education and cultural community and facilitate cross-border collaboration in the field of e-Infrastructures. The GARR network is designed and operated by Consortium GARR, a non-profit association founded by the major Research and Education organisations in Italy under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR).

Further information

BELLA (Building the Europe Link with Latin America) provides for the long-term interconnectivity needs of the European and Latin American research and education communities by procuring and deploying a long-term Indefeasible Right of Use (IRU) for spectrum on a direct submarine cable between the two regions, and deploying a 100Gbps-capable research and education network across Latin America. BELLA is implemented by a Consortium of the Regional Research and Education Networks GÉANT (Europe) and RedCLARA (Latin America) and the National Research and Education Networks of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Italy, Por tugal and Spain. BELLA receives funding from the European Union through the Horizon 2020 programme under grant agreement number 731505 -DG CNECT- (BELLA-S1), from DG DEVCO under grant agreement LA/2016/376-534 (BELLA-T), and from DG GROW. BELLA receives funding in cash and kinds, from CEDIA (Ecuador), REUNA (Chile), RENATA (Colombia) and RNP (Brasil). Together, they contribute 30% of the access cost to the EllaLink transatlantic cable, as well as making significant contributions to upgrading the RedClara regional network in South America. In the specific case of the EllaLink cable, the Latin American contribution comes from RNP, the Brazilian NREN, which is supported by a long-term programme launched by the government of Brazil.

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GÉANT is Europe’s leading collaboration on network and related infrastructure and services for the benefit of research and education, contributing to Europe's economic growth and competitiveness. The organisation develops, delivers and promotes advanced network and associated e-infrastructure services, and supports innovation and knowledge-sharing amongst its members, partners and the wider research and education networking community.

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RedCLARA is the Latin American Research and Education Network, regional leader and promotor of collaboration and development in education, science and innovation, by means of its e-infrastructure and services tailored for its community needs. RedCLARA provides regional interconnections and connections to the world through its international links and promotes the development of tools, services and research projects to empower regional scientific and educational development and the collaboration within Latin American R&E institutions and of Latin America and the rest of the world with an important focus on less developed regions.

Further information

EllaLink is an advanced subsea cable system offering secure high capacity connectivity on a unique low latency transatlantic route serving the growing needs of the Latin American and European markets. The EllaLink network directly connects Brazil and Europe linking the major hubs of São Paulo and Fortaleza with Lisbon, Madrid and Marseille.
The EllaLink System is being built with state-of-the-art coherent technology initially offering 72Tbps of capacity over four fiber pairs. The landing sites in Praia Grande (Brazil), Fortaleza (Brazil) and Sines (Portugal) have been secured, and EllaLink is scheduled to be Ready for Service in 2020. EllaLink is a privately funded and independent company committed to providing products and services on a Carrier Neutral and Open Access basis.

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Copernicus is the European programme for Earth Observation. It collects non-spatial Earth observation data from satrellites and land and marine stations, which are made available on an open and free basis, for climate and environmental monitoring, emergency management and security applications. To date, Copernicus produces around 12 Terabytes around the globe.

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