United Fiber Deploys New Cable Connecting Athens to Thessaloniki

DateJun 6, 2024

United Group has announced a significant infrastructure project: a new terrestrial cable connecting Athens and Thessaloniki. This cable is part of a broader regional backbone aimed at bolstering United Group’s infrastructure across Southeast Europe. Slated to begin in September 2024 and complete by the end of 2025, the optical fiber project will be implemented through United Group’s subsidiary, United Fiber, which is one of Greece’s largest FTTH providers.

Covering 548 kilometers, the optical network cable will pass through key Greek cities, including Athens, Thessaloniki, Volos, Lamia, Larissa, Livadeia, Katerini, and Thebes. From Thessaloniki, the route will extend to Sofia and Belgrade, and ultimately connect to Western Europe’s main hubs via Ljubljana. The route would also enhance connections to Turkey and the Middle East to the east and link with submarine cables to Italy and Crete to the west and south.

The wholesale activities related to this project will be managed by UGI, United Group’s telecommunications wholesale unit. UGI offers telecommunications services including data, voice, mobile, and roaming, partnering with major carriers and tech companies.

Paolo Ficini, CEO of UGI, emphasized United Group’s commitment to becoming the largest fiber network provider in Southeastern Europe. He noted that the project addresses the increasing demand driven by new data centers and submarine cables in the region.

“By creating this completely new network route, United Group tangibly demonstrates its commitment to be the largest fiber network provider in Southeastern Europe, enhancing competitiveness, creating new investment opportunities, and accelerating the digital transformation of all countries involved,” said Paolo Ficini. “The project meets the increasing demand coming from the significant investment in new data centers in the region, as well as in new submarine cables landing in Greece in the Southern border.”

Optical Networks Southeast Europe

United Fiber, established in Greece in 2021, has rapidly expanded its footprint. The company plans further growth in Bulgaria, Croatia, and Slovenia under the United Fiber brand, starting with the registration of a new company in Slovenia in March 2024, followed by Bulgaria and Croatia later in the year.

Zeljko Batistić, Vice President of Technology at United Group, highlighted the company’s experience in building state-of-the-art fixed infrastructure, beginning with a greenfield project in Serbia in 2000. Today, United Group operates one of the largest optical networks in Southeast Europe, with 60,000 km of backbone and metro networks across Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Slovenia.

By consolidating investment and rollout activities under United Fiber, United Group would aim to expand further, create synergies, and enhance client services with dedicated expert teams in sales, support, and technical operations.

This project would represent a substantial step towards enhancing digital connectivity and competitiveness in Southeast Europe, fostering new investment opportunities, and supporting the region’s digital transformation.

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