GÉANT building in Amsterdam. Photo: GÉANT website.
A new digital data highway brings Europe and Latin America closer than ever by enabling digital transformation and making unprecedented opportunities possible.
The BELLA Programme has completed the construction of the undersea EllaLink transatlantic cable, allowing direct, high-capacity and secure connectivity between Europe and Latin America for the very first time.
“As a member of the BELLA Consortium, GÉANT warmly welcomes the EllaLink Inauguration in Sines, Portugal as part of the wider BELLA Programme,” said Erik Huizer, GÉANT Chief Executive Officer.
“We look forward to an era of unprecedented research collaboration in many important areas. Enabling optimal data exchange between researchers in Europe and Latin America, BELLA will, for example, enable the data of the European Copernicus programme – Earth Observation data – created by European researchers, to be accessed by researchers in Chile,” Huizer said.
“Researchers can then use the data on the Atacama desert and combine it with local measurements to study the impact of iodine mining. “The results of that research will help the Chilean government to get insight in the effects of pollution, economic development and resource production estimation,” said Huizer.
The need for a fibre-optical cable linking Brazil to the EU started at the 7th EU – Brazil High-Level Summit held in February 2014 and was further developed at the 2015 summit between the EU and CELAC, where the heads of state decided to close the communication infrastructure gap and gave political support to digitally connect the two regions.
The connectivity gap has been closed with 6,000 kilometres of cable, reducing the current latency by 50%, bringing it to approximately 60 milliseconds.
EllaLink is a new high-capacity, direct, undersea cable between the two continents, with its main nodes physically located in the cities of Sines (Portugal), Funchal (Madeira), Praia (Cabo Verde), Fortaleza, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), with a terrestrial extension in Europe to Lisbon (Portugal), Madrid and Barcelona (Spain), and Marseille (France), Furthermore, EllaLink has been designed so that it can be extended to Morocco, the Canary Islands, Mauritania and French Guiana.
BELLA provides support for the long-term interconnectivity needs of the European and Latin American research and education communities. This is achieved through two complementary and interdependent actions, namely the BELLA-S and BELLA-T projects. These two projects will significantly enhance the ability of researchers and academics across the two regions to collaborate.
This transatlantic initiative enhances digital and data connectivity between the two regions and brings unprecedented opportunities for scientific, cultural and business exchange and facilitates the sharing of high-performance computing and Earth observation data between the two regions.
To bring this large-scale initiative to life, the BELLA consortium was established by a public-private partnership of stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic. The EU is the largest investor in the initiative, deploying around €26.5 million to support the long-term interconnectivity needs of the European and Latin American research and education communities.
Co-funding for BELLA is also provided by Latin American NRENs and the Brazilian government.