The new Barcelona CLS will start operating before the end of the year, Source: Barcelona Cable Landing Station

Catalonia launched its first international cable landing station

Catalonia launched its first international cable landing station

The Barcelona facility, which aims to become the digital port and internet gateway of the Mediterranean, should get to full capacity by 2027

Yesterday, 13 October, after several years of work and meticulous preparation, saw the official inauguration of the Barcelona Cable Landing Station (CLS) - Catalonia’s first international internet submarine cables landing port. The facility, described by government officials as “strategic infrastructure” for the autonomous region, is located in the northern suburb of Sant Adriá de Besós, next to the prominent 'Tres Xemeneies' (Three Chimneys) heritage factory.

This also represents the second such cable landing station in Spain, with the other one located in Bilbao (Basque Country). The Barcelona CLS, however, has the aim to be much larger in its capacity and operations, with the stated goal of hosting up to eight different submarine fiber optic cables transporting internet traffic between Europe, Asia, Africa and even North America.

For the time being, the CLS, owned and managed by telecommunications company AFR-IX, will host two submarine cables, which will start operating by the end of the year. The schedule then previews adding more cables progressively, with a third one expected in the summer of 2024. The full capacity, however, will likely be realized by 2027.

Making Barcelona the global digital traffic hotspot

"The underwater cables reaching Catalan shores will not only reach Catalonia but will connect Catalonia with the world and even with the United States of America," said David Ferrer, Catalan digital policies secretary, during the press conference.

The new CLS also has the ambition to be an alternative to the French city of Marseille, which currently hosts the largest cable landing hub in the Mediterranean. AFR-IX has placed a straight line at the station to make it easier for companies to reach the shore in an ordered way.

"In Marseille, connecting a subsea cable is very complicated as everyone crosses with each other,” explained the CEO of the company, Norman Albi.

Most people don’t realize it perhaps but 98% of the global internet traffic goes through submarine cables, a fact that underscores their critical importance for the modern world.



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