SPIDER’s Mission to Unlock the Potential of the BELLA Network

SPIDER’s purpose is to unlock the untapped potential of the BELLA network, ensuring its full utilization for impactful results in EU-LAC cooperation in research and innovation (R&I). To understand its significance, let’s delve into what the BELLA network is and how it was built.

About the BELLA Network

BELLA, short for “Building the Europe Link to Latin America and the Caribbean,” was an ambitious project that achieved the goal of providing the long-term high-capacity interconnectivity needs of the European and Latin American research and education networks (NRENs). As a result, the regional networks GÉANT and RedCLARA are now connected by a 6,000 km undersea cable system linking Europe directly to South America via Sines in Portugal and Fortaleza in Brazil. Two connections are established, both with a minimum capacity of 100 Gbps, allowing fast data transfer between Europe and South America.

Currently, BELLA II continues its efforts to reduce the digital gap and foster the growth of a robust digital ecosystem in the realms of science, technology, education, and innovation. 

Funded by the European Union through the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), BELLA II is a reflection of the commitment to international collaboration and the bridging of digital disparities. RedCLARA is the executing and coordinating institution in charge of complementing this allocation.

Objectives of the BELLA Network

Strengthening Digital Infrastructure

BELLA’s overarching goal is to strengthen and expand the digital ecosystem in Latin America and the Caribbean. The project aims to design, build, and operate digital infrastructure that ensures robust connectivity for Peru, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras with the existing BELLA infrastructure and the submarine cable connecting Europe with Latin America since 2021.

Additionally, the initiative contemplates extending this connectivity to Caribbean nations, Mexico, Belize, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay based on feasibility analysis, community prioritization, and the availability of economic resources.

Promoting Digital Transformation

Another objective of BELLA is to increase the adoption and use of digital transformation technologies. The project envisions developing innovative solutions in digital research and education.

By fostering a digital-savvy environment, BELLA aspires to contribute to the region’s strategic goals, especially in education, science, technology, and innovation.

Facilitating Collaboration with Europe

BELLA seeks to intensify cooperative relationships with European research and educational digital ecosystems. The project aims to promote knowledge sharing, facilitate access to best practices, and create dialogue spaces.

BELLA represents the power of international collaboration and strategic vision in addressing the digital disparities between Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean. The initiative’s objectives align with the broader agenda of building a more interconnected and digitally inclusive world.

How will SPIDER support the goals of the BELLA Network?

SPIDER, in close collaboration with RedCLARA and GEANT, plays a crucial role in expanding BELLA’s digital presence across Latin America and the Caribbean. Leveraging expertise in digital technologies such as AI, 5G, Blockchain, Cloud Computing, High-Performance Computing, Cybersecurity, and Virtual Research Environments (VRE), SPIDER is committed to supporting BELLA’s goals.

To unlock the full potential of the BELLA network, SPIDER will execute various actions. One such effort involves surveying key players in R&I from both LAC and Europe to identify usage patterns and potential barriers within the network. These insights will then guide relevant R&I stakeholders in pinpointing challenges and opportunities for maximizing BELLA’s impact.

Additionally, SPIDER will implement twinning activities to share best practices and foster connections between EU and LAC innovation hubs. This collaborative approach aims to seize opportunities and develop action plans to address challenges associated with the BELLA network.

As a significant milestone, the EU-LAC Digital Dialogues Implementation Forum (DIF) will be launched. Serving as a multi-stakeholder platform, the DIF aims to facilitate dialogue and exchange of information and best practices among prominent actors in the digital ecosystem from EU and LAC. Unprecedented international cooperation in R&I, this platform will develop a roadmap and formulate recommendations for future EU-LAC collaboration on digital transformation, positioning the BELLA network as a cornerstone for impactful research and innovation initiatives in the digital realm.

To learn more about these and other relevant initiatives, stay posted for updates on how SPIDER will support the exploitation of BELLA’s network potential.

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