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War delays Black Sea fibre project

8 Oct 2008

Finchannel.com reports that as a result of the recent conflict between between Georgia and Russia, Georgian ISP Caucasus Network has lost GEL1.3 million (USD935,000) in revenues. According to company spokesman Eka Machitidze, Russian soldiers damaged masts in the city of Gori, where the hardware of Caucasus Network was installed. As a result much of the country were left without either dial-up or broadband internet access for up to 50 days. The conflict has also delayed considerably work on a submarine fibre-optic cable stretching 1,100km across the Black Sea, connecting the port of Poti in Georgia to the Bulgarian city of Varna. The system was expected to be operational by the third quarter of this year, providing Georgia with direct access to Europe with an ultimate capacity of 1.3 Terabits over two fibre pairs. US engineers hired to install the cable are said to be too worried about the security risk of returning to work in Georgia. ‘We are waiting for American engineers…this project was stopped because of the war. It was impossible to work in Poti,’ Machitidze noted.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Caucasus Network was originally founded in 1997 as Caucusus.net. In 2006 it merged with fellow ISPs Sanet and Georgia Online to form a new company with a near monopolistic 93% domination of the retail broadband internet access market. It had an estimated 52,000 broadband customers at the end of June 2008, prior to Georgia’s spat with Russia over the disputed separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Georgia, Caucasus Online

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