There was some interesting international consolidation this morning. A Chinese telecommunications company made a move on a chunk of fiber in eastern Europe, or more specifically in the Baltics. Hong Kong based CITIC Telecom is acquiring Linx Telecommunications.
Linx has operated a fiber network in the space between Russia, Scandinavia, and Germany since the bubble burst some 15 years ago. Built off of some of the fiber put in the ground during that era, the company has focused on connecting western Europe to its eastern neighbors, slowly building up a presence deeper into Russia and throughout the Baltic nations. They added data centers in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Warsaw, and invested in submarine cable systems in the Baltic Sea that now cover some 470km. Most recently, they added a link all the way east into Kazakhstan.
Just what is a Chinese operator doing with eastern European fiber? Under the One Belt, One Road initiative of the Chinese government, the country’s operators are looking to increase their terrestrial presence through Central Asia into Russia and on to Europe. This is perhaps one piece of that idea, but I doubt it stands alone. There could be more Chinese involvement in infrastructure M&A in both Europe and Asia going forward.
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