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News: Moldovan and Ukrainian R&E communities benefit from new ‘spectrum’ link with GÉANT

Moldovan and Ukrainian R&E communities benefit from new ‘spectrum’ link with GÉANT

RESEARCHERS, STUDENTS AND EDUCATORS IN MOLDOVA AND UKRAINE WILL BENEFIT FROM THE NEW EAPCONNECT ‘SPECTRUM’ CONNECTIVITY WITH EU COUNTRIES. (VIDEO STILL ©GÉANT)

A new ‘spectrum’ high-capacity Internet link that is future-proofed to enable the digital future of Moldovan and Ukrainian research and education (R&E) communities was launched on 28 September 2021. This link achieves strategic goals for the EU-funded EaPConnect project, strengthens and extends the pan-European GÉANT R&E network, narrows Europe’s digital divide, and supports the European Union’s vision for digital transformation in the Eastern Partnership (EaP).

In the launch event, representatives of Moldovan library and Ukrainian particle physics communities described how R&E networks and the new ‘spectrum’ link empower their work, providing access to resources and advancing international research collaboration. The event was organised by EaPConnect as part of the EU4Digital third annual Steering Committee week (27 September – 1 October). An overview of EaPConnect highlights was also presented on 28th, in the morning session on “Eastern Partnership – Current policy agenda and post-2020 priorities”.

Andreas Dudler, GÉANT Board of Directors, Chair “The new ‘spectrum’ link achieves much greater integration of Moldova and Ukraine into the GÉANT network. For GÉANT this is an important development in the pan-European network footprint and capabilities.”

About the network and its ‘spectrum’ capability

The new connectivity completes a Bucharest-Chisinau-Kyiv-Poznan half ring and includes the first regional link between two Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries. The new Chisinau-Kyiv and Kyiv-Poznan sections have a 100 Gbps (Gigabits per second) capacity, which means a 6x increase for Ukraine and a 11x increase for Moldova, based on addition to their previously existing links. Because this new infrastructure can be used with cutting-edge ‘spectrum’ technology, which enables even greater data flow by transmitting it as multiple wavelengths of light, the new sections could handle around 400 Gbps or more simply by upgrading the transmission modules.

This ‘spectrum’ digital highway is provided locally through the national research and education networks RENAM (Moldova) and URAN (Ukraine) as partners in EaPConnect, which is funded within the EU4Digital initiative. Procured by partners and GÉANT with reduced costs in price/Gbps/Km/year for RENAM and URAN, the new link leaves more resources for supporting the Moldovan and Ukrainian R&E communities. Secured under a 15-year Indefeasible Rights of Use contract unprecedented in EaPConnect, the pricing and technology will remain stable beyond the lifetime of the project. This not only supports EaPConnect objectives to reduce the digital divide and connect EaP R&E sectors with GÉANT, it also contributes to the goal shared with GÉANT and EU4Digital to sustain long-term digital development and the benefits it brings society.

Milestones and ‘firsts’

The new digital highway marks some other significant milestones and first-time achievements for EaPConnect, its partners and their R&E communities, and for the GÉANT backbone network:

The launch and the benefits

EaPConnect organised the event “Stronger neighbours, stronger global research & education partners: ‘Spectrum’ digital highways interconnect Moldova, Ukraine and European partners” to launch and celebrate the new connectivity. Around 70 guests from universities and research institutes, government ministries and research funding authorities, EU Delegations, the EU4Digital initiative and the EC’s DG NEAR took part in this online event.

Representing the Moldovan REM (Electronic Resources for Moldova) Library Consortium, which brings together 22 libraries including 14 university libraries, Mariana Harjevschi, General Director of the B.P. Hasdeu Municipal Library in Chisinau, showed the importance of the new connectivity in realising this community’s mission.

Mariana Harjevschi, B.P. Hasdeu Municipal Library in Chisinau, General Director “Effective use of digital technologies has become an inseparable part of our everyday work. We develop repositories, support university publishing in Open Access directories, develop Electronic Libraries and ensure online access to scientific literature resources for R&E institutions – all these activities supported by the network provide better services for our end-users.”

Other presentations from GÉANT, RENAM, URAN and project partners from other countries – PSNC (Poland), RoEduNet (Romania) and GARR (Italy) – provided insights into the impacts of integration into the GÉANT backbone network and the GÉANT community.

Peter Bogatencov, RENAM Management Board, Chair “The new optical infrastructure based on ‘spectrum’ technology allowed RENAM to finalise high-capacity, sustainable connections with Ukraine and Romania, establish a new GÉANT Point of Presence in Chisinau, and ensure advanced integration into the GÉANT network.”

Representatives from Ukrainian and Moldovan government ministries and from the EC’s DG NEAR – Directorate General of Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, which funds EaPConnect through the EU4Digital initiative – responded very positively to the launch of the new ‘spectrum’ network and the value it brings for the digital future for Moldova, Ukraine and other Eastern Partnership countries.

Ludmila Pavlov, Ministry of Education and Research of the Republic of Moldova, Deputy Head of Policy Analysis, Monitoring and Evaluation Division “The EU-supported new ‘spectrum’ infrastructure will improve national and regional connectivity, facilitate the participation of Eastern Partnership students, lecturers and researchers in European and global R&E collaborations, and will increase Moldovan participation in the Horizon Europe Programme.”