Rostelecom and VEB Ventures have signed an agreement to deliver a new terrestrial-subsea route connecting Europe to Asia via Russia.

Rostelecom and VEB Ventures have signed a legally binding parity agreement which will see the investment fund acquire a stake in Atlas, an operating company founded by Rostelecom in 2020. 

Through Atlas, the Russian digital service provider and VEB Ventures (part of the Russian bank VEB.RF) will collaborate to deploy the TEA NEXT (Transit Europe – Asia) fibre-optic cable. The system will connect the westerly and eastern borders of Russia with links to major Russian cities and with Mongolia and China. The network will also be extended onwards to key European traffic exchange centres in Frankfurt and Stockholm, with additional connections from Vladivostok to Busan, Tokyo, and Hong Kong via subsea routes.
Construction of the cable’s first segment from Moscow via Saint-Petersburg to the Latvian border was started by Rostelecom in 2020. Following the successful completion of the corporate set-up of the joint venture, construction of TEA’s main segment is expected to start in 2022.
Initially, Rostelecom and VEB Ventures will each invest approximately RUB 6 billion in Atlas. The total investment is expected to reach up to USD 650 million by the end of 2025. 
By 2025, Atlas plans to launch a set of new fibre-optic rental services to help both Russian and international companies to set up communications lines throughout Russia and along the Europe-Asia transit.
Mikhail Oseevskiy, President of Rostelecom commented: “TEA NEXT will be instrumental in delivering our ambition to become the leader across all segments of the telecom ecosystem. With its technically advanced new generation features, the project will provide the critical foundation for the national backbone fiber optic infrastructure in the next thirty years. Atlas, in turn, is set to become the leader in fiber optic services for national companies, as well as the largest international operators and OTT players. The main feature of the project is the brand new advantageous route from West to East of Russia with stations in key cities along the way.”