Exa Infrastructure and Socar Fiber have partnered to develop a new terrestrial cable connecting Turkey, Greece, and Georgia.

The new 1,850km cable will span the breadth of Turkey (officially Türkiye), with the potential to run along the Iraq border as an alternative to subsea cables in the Red Sea corridor.

Konak Square, Izmir, Turkey
Izmir, Turkey – Getty Images

The companies said the partnership highlights Turkey’s role in the digital ecosystem and added the new terrestrial route will provide diversity to the traditional corridor used by subsea cables.

More than a dozen cables pass through the Red Sea, but recent outages and Houthi attacks on shipping lanes at the southern end of the Red Sea have led to interest in routes that bypass the Red Sea corridor.

Exa Infrastructure added that Socar Fiber’s existing cables are buried adjacent to the TANAP gas pipeline, which will provide reliability.

The cable will also integrate with Exa’s Trans Adriatic Express network, which utilizes the TAP gas pipeline to Italy.

Steve Roberts, senior vice president of network investments at Exa Infrastructure, said: “Terrestrial routes in the region have been an important area of development across the industry for several years, but these have now become a priority. The vulnerability in the Red Sea region has shown that the industry needs more investment in diversity

“We are committed to investing in route diversity and ensuring our customers can access Europe and North America with as many secure paths as possible, and this partnership with Socar provides an ultra-reliable and highly scalable alternative to the Red Sea into Turkey and the rest of Europe.”

Socar Fiber is a subsidiary of Socar Turkiye and has been providing infrastructure services since 2013. The company has more than 1,850km of existing fiber optic infrastructure, built along the TANAP gas pipeline in Turkey.

Socar Turkiye is a subsidiary of the state-owned Azerbaijan oil company Socar.

Headquartered in London, Exa has a network spanning over 125,000km across 34 countries, and operates with more than 500 optical PoPs, with extending routes throughout Europe and North America, crossing the Atlantic via three wholly owned and operated subsea cables.

The company was formed out of European, subsea, and North American network infrastructure and data center assets previously owned by GTT and snapped up by I Squared Capital in September 2021.

Earlier this year, the company sold seven of its data centers to sister company nLighten.