Updated: 28-Aug-2002 August 2002

20 Aug. 2002

First link created on the "Virtual Silk Highway"

On 20 August 2002, an historic first link was established on the "Virtual Silk Highway", a NATO project to provide fast and reliable Internet connection by satellite to the academic communities of the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus.

Work on bringing up the first two connections began following successful testing of equipment delivered initially to the European hub in Hamburg, Germany. Shipment of satellite dishes and other equipment was then made to Tashkent, Uzbekistan and also to Budapest, Hungary, where a training workshop was taking place for the technicians responsible for operating the network in the Caucasus and Central Asian countries.

At 11.00 CET, on 20 August 2002, the first two-way radio connection was made via the EurasiaSat satellite between the control centre in Hamburg and the workshop site in Budapest. At 16.48 CET on 21 August 2002 came the message from Tashkent - the satellite channel with Hamburg is established !! The Virtual Silk Highway was underway.

Launched and developed through the NATO Science Programme this multi-year project is designed to assist the research and academic communities of these remote regions in establishing contacts and pursuing working relationships with colleagues in the world-wide community of scientists.

A number of other companies and agencies are involved in the project, providing both technical and financial assistance, including Cisco Systems Inc., Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY), the European Commission, EurasiaSat, the Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

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