“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.