GÉANT, the pan-European network that connects European national research and education networks (RNIE), and RedCLARA, the Latin American Research and Education network, today announced the signing of an irrevocable Right of Use contract (Indefeasible Right of Use - IRU ) with EllaLink for contracting spectrum on a direct cable that will connect Europe with Latin America.

 BELLA map for Digibyte 3

Hired on behalf of the BELLA Consortium, the IRU will cover the data exchange needs and collaboration requirements of the European and Latin American research and education communities over the next quarter of a century, in areas such as astronomy, particle physics, and the observation of the earth. Funded by the European Union (EU) and the RNIEs community of Latin America, the IRU represents a key element for the viability of the EllaLink cable deployment, which is expected to be operational by the end of 2020.

GÉANT and RedCLARA were connected for the first time in 2003, within the framework of the ALICE project, funded by the EU, to support scientific and academic collaboration between the two continents. Since then, the connection speed has increased by more than 1,600%, from 622 Megabits per second (Mbps) to the current 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps). However, there is no direct submarine cable capable of covering the data transmission needs generated by research and education between Europe and Latin America, which currently have to pass through the United States, which limits the performance of the service and increases their cost.

However, by contracting spectrum in the EllaLink cable, the traffic of the research and education data will flow directly between the two continents, which will reduce the latency by up to 60%, and will improve the protection of the information, with a greater cost efficiency and with a scalable connection with significantly higher speeds than was previously possible.

The need to scale up connectivity was recently highlighted by the exciting discoveries in the area of astronomy -an important part of the Latin American research community-, such as the fusion of two neutron stars (known as Kilonova) and the detection of Oumuamua, the most elongated asteroid known to science, which required the collaboration of infrastructure and scientists in Europe and Latin America.
These collaborations between the two continents will expand significantly in the coming years, and with programs such as Copernicus - of the EU for Earth observation - the importance of BELLA connectivity will increase.

Erik Huizer, CEO of GÉANT, said: "I am delighted to see the culmination of the work with our colleagues from the BELLA consortium, which led to the signing of the BELLA contract with EllaLink." Obtaining the spectrum in an intercontinental submarine cable, which we can implement and update with our Latin American partners in line with the research and education connectivity requirements, is a completely new model for our international connections and will provide us with the flexibility and cost-effectiveness we need to meet the needs of our users. It will be exciting to see the deployment of a submarine cable from a nearby submarine cable and we expect to see bits running between GÉANT and RedCLARA for the first time on a physically direct path between the two continents by 2020. "

Luis Eliécer Cadenas, Executive Director of RedCLARA and co-chair of the BELLA Consortium, said: "This milestone is a key achievement for the Latin American research and education community, and we are opening a direct collaboration channel with Europe, which guarantees security and quality of service for the numerous scientific and educational applications that we hope to offer. RedCLARA is committed to building the data communications infrastructure for research and education that will promote regional development. The BELLA submarine cable is the first stone in construction of this ability. "

Fernando Liello of the Italian RNIE, GARR, co-chair of the BELLA Consortium and coordinator of the feasibility study that led to the BELLA program, said: "This milestone is the first major step towards the completion of the multi-year efforts by a large group of people united by the vision of a closer and more efficient interaction between European and Latin American research communities. This connection will strengthen the many historical, social and scientific research links that already exist between European and Latin American communities. Despite its importance, this achievement is only the first step in the strategic path of the BELLA program, whose final objective is to overcome the digital gap between these two regions ".


BELLA (Building the Europe Link with Latin America) aims to cover the long-term interconnectivity needs of the European and Ibero-American research and education communities through the acquisition and deployment of an irrevocable right of use (IRU) in the long term, through a direct submarine cable spectrum between the two regions, as well as the deployment of an 100 Gbps capacity research and education network throughout Latin America.

BELLA is implemented by a Consortium of Regional Research and Education Networks composed of GÉANT (Europe) and RedCLARA (Latin America), and by the National Research and Education Networks (RNIEs) in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. The financing of BELLA is provided by the European Commission (DG-CONNECT, DG-DEVCO and DG-GROWTH) and the NRENs of Latin America.

For more information, visit: www.bella-programme.org


GÉANT is the pan-European network that connects the networks, infrastructures, and services of Europe's national academic and research networks, which contributes to Europe's economic growth and competitiveness. The organization develops, offers, and promotes advanced networks and associated e-infrastructure services, and supports innovation and knowledge exchange among its members, partners and the broader community of research and education networks.

About RedCLARA

RedCLARA is the Latin American Research and Education Network, a regional leader and promoter of telematic collaboration in education, science and innovation, through its e-Infrastructure and services adapted to the needs of its community. RedCLARA provides regional interconnections and global connections through its international links, and promotes the development of tools, services, and research projects to enhance regional scientific and educational development and the collaboration of Latin American research and education institutions with the rest of the world, paying special attention to the less developed regions.

For more information, visit: www.redclara.net

About EllaLink

EllaLink is an advanced submarine cable system that offers high-capacity secure connectivity on a single low-latency transatlantic route that meets the growing needs of the Latin American and European markets. The avant-garde system directly connects Brazil and Europe, connecting the main centers of São Paulo and Fortaleza with Lisbon and Madrid.

The EllaLink system is being developed by Alcatel Submarine Networks with state-of-the-art coherent technology, initially offering 72Tbps of capacity in four fiber pairs. The landing sites in Praia Grande (Brazil), Fortaleza (Brazil) and Sines (Portugal) have been insured, and EllaLink is scheduled to be ready for service in 2020. For more information, visit www.ella.link or contact with info@ella.link.