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Two fibres across Caspian Sea to form part of Digital Silk Way

Digital Silk Way deal.jpg

Telecoms operators of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan have signed their agreement on building not one subsea link across the Caspian Sea, as part of the Digital Silk Way project, but two.

The two companies, as forecast in Capacity yesterday, are AzerTelecom – part of Neqsol – and Kazakhtelecom.

The main route of the 340km submarine cable will run from Aktau, Kazakhstan, to Siyazan, Azerbaijan.

A reserve channel with length of about 330km will be laid from the Kazakh port of Kuryk to Buzovna, near Baku.

Vasyl Latsanych, head of telecoms at Neqsol, told Capacity in an interview this week that a joint venture between AzerTelecom and Kazakhtelecom will be part of the east-west link that will provide a mainly terrestrial link from China and other parts of Asia to Europe. He said in the interview that the Digital Silk Way can be in service in “two to three years”.

Now, AzerTelecom and Kazakhtelecom, which operate on opposite sides of the Caspian Sea, have signed an agreement (pictured) to lay the two fibres along the bottom of the Caspian Sea.

Sergey Nazarenko, chief operations officer at AzerTelecom, said: “For Kazakhstan and Asian countries this is a new alternative route, as well as an improvement of the network connectivity and reliability, while for Azerbaijan it means a transformation into a regional digital hub.”

Almat Karamanov, CEO for business to business at Kazakhtelecom, said of the new cable: “With its implementation, we will get an additional access to international traffic and a new channel, which will ensure the transit of the global traffic flow from Asian countries through Kazakhstan and via a submarine cable to Azerbaijan with further access to Europe through Georgia, the Black Sea, and Bulgaria.

Nazarenko said: “The historic Silk Way is being digitally reborn, and this route will allow transmission of hundreds of terabytes of information. This will accelerate the development of data storage and processing infrastructure along the entire route. The transmission of data flows from Asia to Europe through Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan will create new opportunities for the development of digital business in the region.”

Karamanov added: “Within this project, we will be able to simultaneously create other large infrastructure projects, such as a superhighway or, for example, the construction of new data centres. As a result of the development of such projects, Kazakhstan will become interesting and promising for major international players.”

The operators said high-level design has already been developed, a detailed roadmap has been approved and after the feasibility study the construction of cable along the bottom of the Caspian Sea will be implemented.