Under the agreement, Interoute is responsible for providing the required facilities and support in Italy to allow UNIFI’s undersea cable to land and connect through Italy to major telecommunications Network Access Points (“NAPs”) located in Milan, Italy and Frankfurt, Germany. Adrian Shatku, President and CEO of UNIFI, explained “We selected Interoute as our landing solution partner because Interoute has a competitive edge in terms of expertise, experience and Europe’s most advanced network. Thanks to its network connections Interoute also gives us the flexibility we need for the future, including the ability to connect with other network operators at the Italian cable landing station and throughout Europe.. With this flexibility, UNIFI can market and sell many types of network services, including wholesale Internet transport at up to Gigabit speeds, all types of other bandwidth services and dark fiber connectivity to Albania from Italy or from other parts of Europe. Naturally, our network will be built using the state-of-the-art fiber optic and Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (‘DWDM’) technologies, providing virtually unlimited bandwidth capability and much needed diversity for Albania and eventually for the entire Balkan region.”
According to UNIFI’s plans, the first phase of BIN aims to provide seamless optical connectivity into Tirana, the capital city of Albania, which is some 40 km inland from the 240 km Adriatic Sea crossing. The next immediate steps for UNIFI will involve finalizing the selection of its undersea cable supplier, and meeting with potential partners that may be interested in modifying the cable configuration to include one or more branching units for expedited future connection of additional cable segments to other countries, such as Montenegro, Greece, or perhaps even Middle Eastern countries across the Mediterranean Sea.
Also as a part of the first phase, UNIFI plans to establish Albania’s first NAP, which will facilitate interconnections among the country’s telecom operators and ISPs, and is expected to become a major telecommunications hub for the Balkan region. To address region-wide market needs, UNIFI plans for subsequent phases of BIN to include development of additional terrestrial connectivity into the neighboring countries — Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro. Such fiber links will stimulate the growth of connectivity into other regional markets such as Bulgaria and Turkey.
“As early as next week, UNIFI expects to begin providing more information about the BIN project to potential customers, including pre-construction bandwidth sales incentives for transport services offerings in Albania,” noted Brian Crawford, Vice President of Business Development for UNIFI.
Gareth Williams, CEO of Interoute, commented “Interoute is proud to be involved in this significant digital step for Albania and Eastern Europe. It is a very exciting time for this region with many rapidly growing telecommunications markets. The extra capacity and resilience provided by this new cable will support new business growth and should encourage investment in Albania and the surrounding countries.”