UNIFI Communications and Interoute Communications have announced the signing of an agreement whereby Interoute will provide the landing solution in Italy for Albania’s first competitive undersea fibre-optic cable, to be constructed as the first phase of UNIFI’s Balkans-Italy Network (BIN) project, which is expected to begin providing service in Albania by 1Q 2011.
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. 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 40km inland from the 240km Adriatic Sea crossing. The next steps for UNIFI will involve finalising 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 future connection of additional cable segments to other countries, such as Montenegro, Greece, or even Middle Eastern countries. 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 Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Montenegro.