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News / May 29, 2023

EU Commission grants AFR-IX telecom’s ATMED-DG project to finance the deployment of a fibre pair between Lisbon and Mazara del Vallo

Medusa, the submarine fibre optic cable system that will have a total length of 8,700 km, is a strategic project to improve connectivity between the countries of the European Union. For this reason, the EU Commission granted AFR-IX telecom’s ATMED-DG (Atlantic-Mediterranean Data Gateway) project €7,79 million to finance the deployment of a pair of dark fibre between Lisbon, Zahara de los Atunes, Barcelona, Marseille and Mazara del Vallo. The ATMED-DG project corresponds to the Western Mediterranean cable section (3,889 km) and will be the first cable to connect landing stations in Portugal, Spain, France and Italy on the same submarine cable infrastructure.

The project, that started on 1st of March 2023, has been granted under the call Backbone connectivity for Digital Global Gateways (CEF-DIG-2021-GATEWAYS).

The ATMED-DG project is part of the CEF (Connecting Europe Facility) programme to support the implementation of strategic networks to improve the connectivity of EU countries. In this sense, it should be noted that the current state of the submarine connections in the Mediterranean region presents some conditions and deficiencies that ATMED-DG will be able to solve.

AFR-IX telecom’s ATMED-DG project is offering significant increase in connectivity between different countries involved and playing an important role in the creation of a Mediterranean Data Gateway. ATMED-DG project will be integrated in the Medusa Submarine Cable System.


ATMED-DG, digital gateway between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic

ATMED-DG project consists in a submarine optic- fiber pair running between Lisbon (Portugal) to Mazara del Vallo (Italy), becoming the largest and faster submarine optical fibre line in the Mediterranean Sea and, therefore, setting the basis for the Mediterranean Data Gateway.

During the pathway of this main cable, multiple branching units (BUs) will connect multiple European Landing Sites to the main trunk. Those landing sites are Zahara de los Atunes, Torreguadiaro and Barcelona (Spain), and Marseille (France).

Although there are multiple submarine cable lines in the Mediterranean Sea, all these cables normally pass through the Mediterranean Sea to connect with other continents (specially Asia and the Middle East), connecting only with few Mediterranean European Data Ports, and majorly with Marseille and Sicily. Therefore, the connectivity of the Mediterranean zones of Europe is performed using small infrastructures, that does not offer the quality and capacity needed.

Moreover, this issue will get worse in the future years, where it is expected an important increase in the connectivity demand by 2030 together with the end-of-life of some of those Mediterranean subsea cables.

And, differently from current submarine cables, ATMED-DG will not only pass through the Mediterranean, but will connect multiple Data Ports of the European Mediterranean Regions, providing high-speed, high-quality connection to all these zones.  ATMED-DG will offer the first open access cable enabling third parties to use the existing network infrastructure. It and will allow to have 10X-20X more capacity, provide Point of Presence (PoP) to PoP connectivity and have much less maintenance cost.

The ATMED-DG section will open up the Mediterranean to the Atlantic and will be an important precedent for future submarine cables. For this reason, we are convinced that Medusa will represent a qualitative leap in the connectivity of the EU countries.Norman Albi, CEO of AFR-IX telecom



Funded by the EU

This project has received funding from the European Union’s under grant agreement No 101094487