An agreement signed between Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan on October 29 puts government support behind the development of fiber optic links between Europe and Asia.

The agreement was signed by the foreign ministers of the three countries and specifically highlights fiber optic links, stating that it “underscored the importance of strengthening the joint efforts for development of international fiber optic backbone between Europe and Asia.”  While it does not go into detail on specific plans for such connections, it does have the potential to lead to new projects or increasing traffic on existing cables. 

Submarine cables are important to the region as a way to deliver Europe-Asia traffic.  Georgia operator Caucasus Online owns a submarine cable across the Black Sea, which “provides critical services in regional communications, acting as a major gateway for Internet traffic from Europe to South Caucasus and the Caspian region,” according to a press release issued by the company earlier this year. 

That press release from May of this year announced the upgrading of the Caucasus Online to 100G technology; adding up to 5 Tbps of new capacity.  The 1,200-kilometer cable entered service in 2008.  The upgrade helps Caucasus Online meet growing demand for Internet bandwidth in the region. 

Other cables landing in Turkey also deliver Asiatic traffic to Europe.  In addition, another agreement that settled boundary issues in the Caspian Sea has the potential to result in new submarine cables, thus potentially adding additional traffic from Central Asia to Europe through the Caucasus region.