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  Intercomms Issue 18
Issue 18 Articles

Cyta’s Cable and Satellite Hub in the Eastern Mediterranean

By Mr Yiannis Koulias, Director, National & International Wholesale Market, Cyta

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Yiannis Koulias, Director, National & International Wholesale Market
Yiannis Koulias, Director, National & International Wholesale Market

Yiannis Koulias is Director of National and International Wholesale Market Division at Cyta, based in Cyprus. The Division incorporates Cytaglobal, a semi-autonomous strategic business unit specialising in international communications, with special emphasis on submarine cable systems. He is also the Managing Director of Cyta wholly-owned subsidiary Cyta UK Ltd based in the UK, and the Vice-Chairman of Cyta wholly-owned subsidiary Cytaglobal Hellas AE, based in Greece. Yiannis Koulias holds a BSc Honours Degree in Electrical & Electronic Engineering from the University of Manchester Institute of Science & Technology and an MSc Degree in Microwaves & Modern Optics from University College London. He is a Chartered Engineer and Member of various professional institutions.

Cyprus’ telecommunications infrastructure is one of the most developed in the Eastern Mediterranean region thanks to Cyta’s international network, which is considered to be amongst the most technologically advanced in Europe. Cyta, otherwise known as Cyprus Telecommunications Authority, has a vision to provide modern electronic communications solutions which give people the freedom to discover and communicate with the world. Cyta provides the full spectrum of advanced telecommunications products and services, covering fixed and mobile voice and data communications, Internet, IPTV and value added services.

Taking full advantage of the privileged geographical location of Cyprus at the crossroads of three continents, Cyta is particularly active in the submarine cables business, providing innovative international wholesale solutions on a global basis, through its strategic business unit Cytaglobal. In the last decade, Cyta has invested heavily in the construction of submarine cables and is now primarily connected to the outside world through nine high-capacity submarine cable systems and subsystems. The existing submarine cables and all-fibre coastal links are interconnecting Cyprus, via multiple landing stations, with countries in the Eastern Mediterranean and the rest of the world. Cyta also co-owns transatlantic cable systems and other regional cable systems that are used to further extend its international reach. Although Cyta is serving mainly the Middle East and East Mediterranean wholesale markets, it aims to expand to the fast growing Gulf and Asian telecommunications markets, in cooperation with selected strategic partners.

Makarios Mountain Earth Station
Makarios Mountain Earth Station

Recent developments in Cyta’s submarine cable business include ALASIA and EUROPA. The ALASIA submarine cable system between Cyprus-Syria is expected to be in commercial service in the second quarter of 2013, while the EUROPA submarine cable system between Cyprus-Lebanon is expected to be fully operational before end 2015. These cable systems will supplement and eventually replace the existing submarine cable systems UGARIT and CADMOS respectively, providing resilient telecommunications bridges between Middle East and Europe, via Cyprus. At the same time, the new systems aim to attract additional transit traffic from the Gulf area to Western Europe, via Syria and Lebanon.

Cyta also operates an extensive satellite network with two teleport sites, providing connectivity with Intelsat, Eutelsat, SES World Skies, AsiaSat, ABS, Arabsat and other major satellite systems. Services offered via Cyta’s teleports include a broad collection of products ranging from satellite television on a permanent and occasional basis to international telephony, monitoring services, data and internet connectivity. The teleports also offer VSAT services, hosting services to third parties and serve as a video head-end for Cyta’s IPTV offering in the Cyprus market. Historically, the first satellite service provided at Cyta’s teleports was international telephony. With the rapid development of the submarine fiber network, the importance of the satellite voice connections has been gradually limited and nowadays their purpose is to complement the terrestrial network. Although these links usually provide thin-route connections, their main advantage is the fast deployment for ad-hoc customer needs.

VSAT solutions are a rapidly expanding service in today’s marketplace and Cyta provides such services to its customers internationally. VSAT links enable instant connectivity usually from remote regions around the globe via IP backbone and other dedicated connections. Cyta offers services in Africa in C band and in Western Asia and the Middle East in Ku band with small and low cost terminals. Field support is provided in association with specialized partners.

Cyta offers its business partners the capability to host their equipment at its teleports. Dedicated areas with full facilities and regulated access are available for Cyta’s business partners to install and operate their equipment. Cyta provides full support and assistance to integrate the hosted equipment with its own facilities and establish a reliable full-functioning system. Cyta’s teleport facilities also serve as a video head-end for its multi-channel IPTV service. This includes reception of more than 80 TV channels from various satellites via a dedicated antenna farm, which includes more than 80 receive terminals and can provide visibility to most broadcasting satellites covering our region. The content is assembled in a digital bouquet that is fed to Cyta’s core network for distribution to the customers. All the content is actively monitored on a 24-hour basis.

Cyta has become an important telecommunications hub in the Eastern Mediterranean and a telecommunication centre of excellence, playing a vital role in the improvement of the country’s economy.

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