New submarine cables and data centers position Sines at the center of the digital transition
Now exclusively dedicated to the infrastructure of the digital transition, the unique capacities of Sines to host submarine telecommunications Cable Landing Stations (CLS) and large Data Centres (DC), in line with the EU-Atlantic Data Gateway Platform for Europe’s digital economy, were discussed at the second major “Meetings at ZILS: Sines Tech, EU-Atlantic Data Gateway Platform” conference.
The Sines Tech – Innovation & Data Center Hub is located in the Sines Industrial and Logistics Zone (ZILS), managed by aicep Global Parques. Filipe Costa, CEO of aicep Global Parques, has made a commitment to attracting an ecosystem of data centre interconnection points for the transoceanic submarine data traffic cables: “Sines Tech has come to host all the infrastructure that Portugal needs to develop a truly digital economy and to take a place among the big players of the internet.”
Promoted by aicep Global Parques – Gestão de Áreas Empresariais e Serviços and ADRAL – Agência de Desenvolvimento Regional do Alentejo, a highlight of this conference was the announcement of ongoing processes for the mooring of four new submarine cables in Portugal by 2025, including Google’s Equiano, Facebook’s 2Africa and AFR-IX’s Medusa, which join the already existing Ellalink fibre optic data cable which currently connects Europe (in Sines) to South America (in Fortaleza).
The CEO of Medusa Submarine Cable System, Norman Albi, participating on the afternoon panel dedicated to “Submarine Cable Stations and Data Centres in Sines”, explained that the authorisation process to moor the Medusa submarine cable in Sines and on the beach in Carcavelos is in the process of being finalised. The global investment of Medusa is budgeted at €326 million for a capacity of 480 terabits per second (Tbps). This new cable is centred on the Mediterranean, connecting five European countries (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Greece), four North African countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia) and Turkey.
On the Data Centre side, the focus was on the Start – Sines Transatlantic Renewable & Technology Campus project, which will install the largest data processing and storage campus powered by renewable energy in Europe at ZILS, with an investment of €3.5 billion and creating some 1,200 jobs.
The creation of a one-stop-shop for cable mooring was also announced during the panel on “National Regulation and Licensing”, with the presence of ANACOM – National Communications Authority, DGRM – Directorate-General of Natural Resources, Safety and Maritime Services, and APA – Portuguese Environment Agency. This will be an online solution featuring pre-registration in order to speed up procedures and bureaucracy for projects in this area, offering decisive flexibility for Portugal’s competitive positioning.
Sines Tech offers a competitive location for the development of this ecosystem for tech companies: a high- and ultra-high-voltage electricity grid; renewable energy supply; water reservoirs (for cooling); the connectivity of the deep-water port (for the mooring of data cables from anywhere in the world); terrestrial telecommunications connections, an ideal geographical location and safety.
The Sines Tech – Innovation & Data Center Hub community has been founded recently by various public and private entities for the creation of an information and communication technology cluster in Sines. It includes the Sines Municipal Council, aicep Global Parques, the EllaLink group, Fast Fiber, the National Scientific Computing Unit of the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT/FCCN Unit), IP Telecom, REN Telecom, Sines Tecnopolo and the Start-Sines Transatlantic Renewable & Technology Campus. This community has a vision to create an open digital ecosystem where data can be made available and shared securely while respecting European regulations.
This conference was organised as part of the “Invest in Alentejo” programme, an initiative led by ADRAL and funded by the Alentejo 2020 Programme, which seeks to promote and deepen the internationalisation of goods and services in the Alentejo region.
The programme featured:
“Meetup at ZILS: Sines Tech | EU-Atlantic Data Gateway”
Business Centre of Sines’ Industrial and Logistics Zone (ZILS), Portugal
January 11th, 2022
Filipe Costa, CEO of aicep Global Parques and non-Executive Board Member of ADRAL
Hugo Santos Mendes, H. E. the Secretary of Communications at the Ministry of Infrastructure
Panel #1 “Portuguese Regulation and Licensing”
Moderator: Teresa Ribeiro, aicep Global Parques
Augusto Fragoso, Portuguese Telecom NRA (ANACOM) DG Information and Innovation
José Manuel Marques, Director of Marine Environment and Sustainability at DG for Natural Resources, Safety and Maritime Services (DGRM)
Nuno Lacasta, Chair of the Portuguese Environmental Agency (APA)
Panel #2 “Sines CLSs & DCs ecosystem” (60m)
Moderator: Gonçalo Eiras, aicep Global Parques
Afonso Salema, CEO of START – Sines Transatlantic Renewable & Technology Campus
Alberto Passos, Telecom Business Diretor at IP Telecom
Enrico Banfi, Alcatel Submarine Networks VP EMEA & APAC
Norman Albi, CEO of Medusa Submarine Cable System
Olivier Labbe, General Manager of CAP DC
Philippe Dumont, CEO of EllaLink
Thomas Kuepper, Policy Officer Broadband and Submarine Cables at the European Commission