"Dark fiber" is the new paradigm in the research networking around the world. It is the only transmission medium providing virtually unlimited capacity and flexibility in network development. The possession of fiber means for NRENs freedom, sustainability and predictive costs. Dark-fiber based NRENs have the flexibility of network design and technology choice. Such networks allow for fixed cost of use of the infrastructure and at the same time provide upgradeability to Tbit/s, as the user demands grow. NRENs that already recognized these benefits have had their transmission capacities soared and the range of their infrastructure expanded. On the other hand, European networking faces great "digital divide", clearly visible at the eastern and southeastern border of European Union.

Porta Optica Study is a project co-funded by the European Commission as the Specific Support Activity ,with the ultimate goal of the stimulation and consolidation of initiatives to ensure the successful, dark-fiber based research network deployment in Eastern Europe, the Baltic States and Southern Caucasus regions.

Porta Optica Study project will have influence on over 1400 scientific institutions and 700 higher education indtitutions in 9 target countries.