"Dark fiber" is the new paradigm in the research networking around the world. It is the only transmission medium providing virtually unlimited capacity and flexibility in network development. The possession of fiber means for NRENs freedom, sustainability and predictive costs. Dark-fiber based NRENs have the flexibility of network design and technology choice. Such networks allow for fixed cost of use of the infrastructure and at the same time provide upgradeability to Tbit/s, as the user demands grow. NRENs that already recognized these benefits have had their transmission capacities soared and the range of their infrastructure expanded. On the other hand, European networking faces great "digital divide", clearly visible at the eastern and southeastern border of European Union.

Porta Optica Study was a project co-funded by the European Commission as the Specific Support Activity, with the ultimate objective of the stimulation and consolidation of initiatives to ensure the successful, dark-fiber based research network deployment in Eastern Europe, the Baltic States and Southern Caucasus regions.

Porta Optica Study project provided an impressive database of information that allowed for future deployments within Black Sea Interconnection (BSI) project, HP-SEE project and still provides a base for networking activities in the region.
Black Sea Interconnection
BSI (Black Sea Interconnection) project was the first project of its kind, providing broadband connection from GEANT to Southern Caucasus countries, helping to reduce the digital divide that exists between the South Caucasus countries and Europe

The project developed strategies for interconnecting the existing infrastructures in the region, realization of the connections and supplying operational support for the established network. The existence of interconnections between the South Caucasus countries and connection to GÉANT2 with reasonable capacities enabled introduction of new services to the region and was an important step towards the integration of the scientific potential in the region with Europe. The BSI has been further extended within HP-SEE project which ceased its operations in September 2013 and the connectivity will be further priovided to the region by GEANT project.

BSI project was co-funded by European Community and participating countries.

Total project budget was 1 861 908 Euro
EU financial contribution was 1 400 000 Euro

The operations of the project have been scheduled for 24 months and the total effort was 118 man-months.
The CULTURe EXchange Platform (CULTUR-EXP) project is implemented under the European Union’s Joint Operational Programme “Black Sea Basin 2007-2013”. The project started on 1 July 2013. It involves organisations from five countries: Georgia, Armenia, Greece, Bulgaria and Moldova. The project duration is 24 months.

The overall objective of the project is to facilitate the cross-border exchange of culture by providing an innovative, multi-lingual IT platform, based on available open source social platform solutions and adapted for culture producers (artists, directors or art, festival organizers), culture operators (museums, festivals, etc.) and other actors of the culture market.  The platform will be an online tool, where all cultural professional and organisations in the Black Sea region will be able to advertise, discuss and organize cultural activities and events. The platform will also be an important source of information about the culture and related cultural events (artists, operators, events) for art lovers and culture consumers.
The specific objectives of the project are following:
1. To provide the CULTUR-EXP platform with carefully defined functionalities.
2. To provide rich content on the platform.
3. To ensure the wide uptake of the platform by the users.
Interested cultural operators, festivals, museums, culture related sites, galleries, other relevant  and independent artists interested to promote their culture work via Black Sea CULTURE-EXP platform are welcome to contact project partners.

CEENGINE project aims at enforcing ad stimulating Central and Eastern European Association (CEENet) activities related to incubation and development of
National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) in Central, Eastern, Southern Europe and Central Asia.

With the support of EU in the form of CEENGINE project, it is expected that the Association engages more intensively and aggressively in supporting and developing NRENs in the areas which are both complementary to enabling GEANT3.
What are the objectives?
CEENGINE relies heavily on the unqualified experience, expertise and competence of CEENet in Central and Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia, and aims to fulfill the following objectives:

Coordination of activities between e-infrastructures initiatives in the region;
Raising awareness and technical know-how necessary for integration with GEANT, including dark-fibre, cross-border connections;
 Fostering international cooperation and extension of GEANT towards the East;
The intensification of dissemination of e-infrastructure programme and related projects (GEANT, BSI, CAREN, various GRID and HPC initiatives) in the region.

How is it going to happen?
CEENGINE will follow quite simple yet carefully crafted work plan. There are four major activities that will ensure the achievement of project objectives:

The identification of NREN’s users and support to user communities (in the sense of stimulating, disseminating information, supporting participation in European
research activities) in order to create a stable base of NREN supporters; this follows our belief that NREN should perform stimulating role towards their users’

The development and support of NRENs; non-existence or weak performance of NRENs discourages user communities or greatly impedes their participation in collaborative international research; we believe that each country’s academic community needs dedicated research facilities and NERN is such a facility. Such as there is no good transport economy without the access to international research facilities such as NRENs and GEANT; this activity is very much dependent on the first one – there are no good NRENs if there are no users;

The coordination of research activities; NRENs are subject to constant development – mainly due to ever-changing technology, legal environment as well as new ways of interoperation with partners; this situation requires constant monitoring and even participation of NRENs in relevant research activities; for this purpose CEENGINE will create a competence database and will offer domain contact point services for NRENs and their users willing to participate in international research

The education; the results of the first three activities will provide valuable information that will be processed to the workshop materials, for three dedicated workshops:

NRENs users workshop
NRENs technology workshop 
NRENs managerial/policy workshop

The dissemination; “80% of success is showing up” said Woody Allen;