The European Commission today helped to increase the internet capacity available to researchers in the Central Asia region (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan). With the Commission's €5 million contribution to the Central Asia Research and Education Network (CAREN), the ancient Silk Road has been upgraded to a 21st century high-speed internet highway for research and education. Researchers, academics and students in the region now have access to high-capacity internet connections, offering them unrivalled opportunities to play a major role on the international research scene. With Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan also candidate countries to join the network, CAREN will link over half a million users at more than 500 universities and research centres.