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Barcelona Cable Landing Station, Source: Generalitat de Catalunya

Catalonia aims to construct the most important digital port in the Mediterranean

Catalonia aims to construct the most important digital port in the Mediterranean

Barcelona Cable Landing Station will be the first such to have an international outreach

The Government of Catalonia has announced that the construction of a fibre optic cable landing point is already underway in Sant Adriá de Besos, a municipality in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area. The name of the new facility, slated for completion in the spring of 2022, will be Barcelona Cable Landing Station (CLS) and the aim is to make it the most important such base in the Mediterranean Basin serving as a hub for data travelling from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

It is estimated that this can help increase Catalonian GDP with between 2 and 4 %

The Generalitat (as the regional government is better known) has invested 800 000 euros towards the implementation of this initiative, seen as an important step towards the digitization of the economy and placing the region on the global economic map.

The reality is that fibre optic cables are still more reliable and efficient than satellite connections for the transmission of data and much of the Internet we use relies on them. Invisible for most of us and traversing the bottoms of the world’s seas and oceans for thousands of kilometres, the capacity of each cable equals that of 2 or 3 thousand satellites.

Various government local and regional officials gathered today at the site to present the unveiling of the construction, promising that this will be an open digital port, meaning it will allow the arrival of cables without restrictions from different operators.

There was a tone of optimism, with estimates citing a possible regional GDP increase of between 2 and 4 % for the next four years and the provision of 200 000 new jobs, especially in the telecommunications sector.

“In the same way that ports and airports have been a key tool for the country's industrialization and economic development, today, for the digitalization of the economy we need 21st-century infrastructures as is this digital port. In the new digital age, the raw materials are bytes and they run on submarine cables,” explained Jordi Puigneró, Regional Minister of Digital Policies.

Norman Albi, the CEO of AFR-IX Telecom, the company that will operate the landing station added that it can be a strategic hub for cables from Africa and Asia that want to link to the USA. There will be cables also connecting to the ports of Marseille and Genoa.

As for the environmental impact on the marine environment, experts assured that the laying of cables is done after careful considerations. When properly installed they have neutral, and even beneficial impact, since they can be used by organisms, such as algae, as bases for their colonies.

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