One Small Step for GÉANT, One Giant Leap for the Black Sea Region

The Commission has increased the internet capacity available across the Black Sea to researchers in the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) by switching on the region's largest computer network for research and education. The EU-funded regional research and education network Black Sea Interconnection (BSI) links the South Caucasus countries and connects them to the high bandwidth, pan-European GÉANT network that already serves 30 million researchers. This new connection will enable researchers and students to collaborate with their European peers in 40 countries, by sharing large amounts of data over the network.

Cutting edge research depends on large databanks and massive processing power to deal with problems such as forecasting earthquakes, decoding genetic information, simulating climate change and energy demands or predicting and managing the spread of epidemics. The Black Sea Interconnection project links the countries of the South Caucasus to the pan-European GÉANT (MEMO/09/110) academic internet at previously unavailable speeds (from a minimum of 34 to 100 Megabits per second, Mbps). These speeds allow the deployment of advanced services across the region, such as more internet addresses through the latest internet protocol (IPv6, a potentially unlimited source of internet addresses (IP/08/803) and multicast (which allows more effective streaming of videos, for example), which are innovative features of high speed research networking across the world.

The high speed connections will enable a far greater level of collaboration between researchers and scientists in the region. Connecting 377 universities and research institutes in the South Caucasus to the pan-European Geant2 network, which already connects 34 national research networks worldwide, will increase the scope of research and education both in the South Caucasus and in Europe itself. It also promises to impact daily life in the region by improving access to and quality of healthcare such as allowing doctors to remotely diagnose conditions and prescribe treatment to poor and isolated rural communities.

The Black Sea Interconnection project will run for 24-months from 17 March 2008.

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