The FINANCIAL — Have you been wondering why some of the streets in Tbilisi are dug up? Caucasus Online, one of the leading internet providers in Georgia is investing 10-15 million USD in an underground fibre optic infrastructure just in Tbilisi. This gives a little hope to Tbilisi’s residents that connection with global internet will improve significantly.
“The building of the new cables does not mean we will not be using Silknet channels. We do not deny the possibility of future collaboration. We will use Silknet cables as well as those of Akhali Qselebi or others if it is economically attractive for our company,” said Gia Adeishvili, General Director of Caucasus Online.
“In Silknet wells there is a 232 kilometre fibrous cable of Caucasus Online’s. However, it is difficult to say which share of the Silknet cable we occupy,” Adeishvili added.
“Silknet and Caucasus Online have long standing cooperation that has evolved over recent years and now encompasses four main directions: lease/rent of telephone ducts and channels, lease/rent of last mile facilities i.e. broadband resources of copper pars, telephone traffic exchange and IP transit/internet,” declared Ramaz Kukuladze, first Deputy CEO of JSC Silknet, one of the largest communication companies in Georgia.
“Caucasus Online, like any other operator, can rent ducts and channels from us if they need to. The price varies with different types of cables, thus neither unit price nor total length is a comparable unit,” Kukuladze added.
Caucasus Online is serving more than 100,000 customers throughout Georgia. The number of Caucasus Online subscribers increased by 15% during 2010. By the end of the year Caucasus Online plans to attract more new subscribers, as their demand is to satisfy the needs in Tbilisi as well as in the regions.
“The largest ongoing project at present is the organization of the new underground fibre optic infrastructure. As well as this huge project, Caucasus Online has numerous small scale projects which the public will find out about in stages. We will be announcing interesting news to the market soon,” declared Adeishvili.
Caucasus Online has been providing fibrous internet since the year 2007. With the Varna-Poti fibre optic cable the company connected its customers directly to Europe in 2008.
“The company is actively working on technical improvement of infrastructure and creating our industry. At present, the majority of works are being conducted in Vake and Moscow Avenue,” declared Adeishvili.
“Didi Dighomi was the first district which was switched to this project and proved a success to our company. The work is continuing and we will be covering all the districts of the capital in stages, as well as having the ambition to cover other countries too,” Adeishvili added.
The 100% owner of Caucasus Online is International Online Networks Limited. 50% of the shares is possessed by foreign company Nelgado Limited, 19.94% – by the foreign investment fund Growth Master Holding IC, and the owner of the remaining 30.06% shares is Mamia Sanadiradze.
“The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development had never had a direct or indirect share in Caucasus Online. A partnership agreement was formed with EBRD, which considered purchase of 5% shares in International Online Networks Limited. At present the project of EBRD has paused indefinitely,” said Gia Adeishvili, General Director of Caucasus Online.
“TBC Bank possessed shares of Caucasus Online, which was sold to Growth Master Holding IC according to the agreement formed on 14 April, 2009. It should be mentioned that TBC Bank has the right of loan converting, which if used by TBC Bank, will give the Bank up to a 5% share,” added Adeishvili.