CIS panel confirms project deployments for Digital Silk Way

CIS panel confirms project deployments for Digital Silk Way

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A panel at Capacity Europe has revealed the Digital Silk Way is on track to see several project milestones over the coming weeks as infrastructure deployments progress.

As a project, the Digital Silk Way combines several different routes and components, which will be linked through various projects over the coming 24 months. For example, the existing network in Kazakhstan will be extended to the planned Kazak cable landing station in Aktau, on the Caspian Sea coast. From there, there will be new subsea cable projects in the Caspian Sea and Black Sea and a new fibre system across Azerbaijan.

For the Azerbaijan project, vendor selection is ongoing and a request for proposals (RFP) has been issued. For the new Caspian Sea cable, the RFP is due to be issued in four to six weeks.

Stuart Evers, chairman, Azertelecom International, told the conference: "In terms of building across the Caspian Sea it's only 350 kilometres so it's a non-repeatered system. We are building a brand new, 48 pair fibre optic system across Azerbaijan using the railway. The RFP has been issued for that and we are at vendor selection at the moment. We are looking at beginning of 2023 for that to be finalised, the Caspian Sea cable will also be 2023."

Turning attention to Turkey and Georgia, Evers said Azertelecom is building new capacity through both markets to enhance existing infrastructure, including that of Caucasus Online.

Evers continued: "In fact, there are just over 93 fibre pairs running through the oil and gas pipeline. We are going to put active equipment on that in 2022, so it will be ready for 2023, and we are actually building a new sea cable system in the Black Sea. It's a consortium being led by our colleagues in Vodafone, and we believe this will be ready probably around 2024."

On that project, Evers said the MOU is being finalised and RFP could happen as soon as this year, with vendor selection "sometime next year." Regarding completion dates "the full route end-to-end will be available 2023, going into 2024," he added.

The project is also known as the Digital Silk Road (DSR) and is part of China's broader Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which is also discussed during the session.

The Caucasus and Central Asia panel was chaired by Sietse Lettinga, VP sales Europe, Raycom Global Ventures and Evers was joined by Thomas Duhr, head of sales, Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier and Neven Dilkov, CEO, Neterra.

The session is available to watch on the event platform until mid-November.






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