After several years of planning, procurement, preparation, building, and most importantly collaboration, the BELLA Programme today sees an incredible milestone: the final splicing – and therefore completion – of the new 6,000km EllaLink submarine cable connection that directly links Europe and Latin America. Work now begins to bring BELLA connectivity online, providing the high capacity and low latency necessary for data-intensive research and education use.
What is BELLA?
The BELLA Programme provides for the long-term interconnectivity needs of European and Latin American research and education communities, achieved through two projects: BELLA-S which secures rights to spectrum on the EllaLink submarine cable and ensures future-proof connectivity requirements; and BELLA-T which sees the completion of fibre connectivity for Latin American NRENs – bringing much needed high-speed connectivity and equality of access for research and education communities across the continent.
What does it mean?
When fully operational in the coming months, BELLA will transform European and Latin American research and education opportunities for the next 25 years. High-capacity connectivity and low latency together open up new possibilities – for example, for Latin American users BELLA will enable rapid access to Copernicus Earth Observation data, boosting climate research collaboration between the two continents and in times of emergencies helping to save lives; the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), the world’s largest and most sensitive ground-based observatory for gamma-ray astronomy at very high energies, will open a new window to the Universe. With over 100 telescopes located on two sites – La Palma in the Canary Islands (Spain), and Mount Paranal, Chile – and data management in further European locations, the data transfer requirements are enormous. BELLA connectivity will enable fast transfer to data centres for event reconstruction and rapid access to science data for a global community of researchers.
These are just two examples of the enormous positive impact BELLA is set to deliver. Today’s milestone is just the start of an incredible journey!
BELLA receives funding from the European Union through the Horizon 2020 program under grant agreement number 731505 – DG CNECT (BELLA-S1); DG DEVCO, under number LA / 2016 / 376-534 (BELLA-T), and DG DEFIS. Complementary funding is provided by Latin American research and education networks.