UNIFI Communications (UNIFI), a US-based international carrier, and Alcatel-Lucent (Alca-Lu) have announced the signature of the Balkans-Italy Network (BIN) Phase 1 Supply Contract. The French-US equipment vendor will provide turn-key implementation of Albania’s first private undersea fibre-optic cable system, which will connect Tirana (Albania) to Bari (Italy). The network is expected to begin providing service by the end of 2011. Under the agreement, Alca-Lu will also deploy optical equipment at the landing points of the network, which will link Italy to the newly created Balkans Internet eXchange (BIX) in Tirana. BIX is being developed by UNIFI to serve as Albania’s first fibre-connected data centre providing connectivity from Albania to all of the major telecoms hubs in Western Europe, including Milan, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and London.
UNIFI plans to focus its attention on the implementation of Phase 1 while also moving forward with plans for addressing region-wide market needs, including subsequent phases of BIN to eventually provide terrestrial connectivity into Albania’s neighbouring countries of Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Montenegro.