The Black Sea Interconnection (BSI) project has been launched, which will build a regional research and education network among South Caucasus countries and link them to Géant2, the high bandwidth, pan-European research network.
This flagship project is the largest of its kind in the region and will allow Caucasian research communities to participate effectively in joint research and educational activities with the rest of Europe. The European Commission provided €1.4m of funding for the BSI project within 7th Framework Programme for R&D.
The BSI project will bridge the digital divide between the South Caucasian National Research and Education Networks, namely GRENA (Georgia), AzRENA (Azerbaijan), NAS RA (Armenia), and Europe by establishing a high-speed backbone network in the South Caucasus region and connecting it to the pan-European Géant2 network.
The Turkish National Research and Education Network, TÜBÄ°TAK-ULAKBÄ°M, co-ordinates the Black Sea Interconnection venture – this being a flagship project and the largest project coordinated by Turkey in the Framework Programme.
Interconnecting the Southern Caucasus via a regional backbone network and providing a high-speed link to Géant2 and Europe enables the introduction of new services to the region and is a step towards the integration of the Caucasian scientific potential with the Europe and the rest of the world.
The Black Sea Interconnection will also help the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) to concentrate directions of regional scientific and technological collaboration, sharing best practices, undertaking joint projects of common interest to all member states and stipulating cooperation among the BSEC Member States and with other organisations, in particular with the EU via the advanced Géant2 network.
‘The Black Sea Interconnection is not only integrating and linking the research and education communities in the Southern Caucasus with Europe, but also functions as a role model to extend the scope of its achievements across the whole Black Sea Region to Central Asia by introducing substantial interregional elements,’ said professor Cem Saraç, director of TÜBÄ°TAK-ULAKBÄ°M.
He added: ‘This transforms the former “Silk Route” into a modern “e-Silk Route” by realising a network endowed by high capacity connections.'
The Black Sea Interconnection project runs for 24-months from 1 March 2008 onwards. The regional network and the connection to Géant2 is planned to be operational later in 2008.