South America will improve connectivity with Asia

A project to deploy more than 20K km of cable in the Pacific Ocean will convert Chile in a critical digital hub.

An underwater cable will connect Asia with South America in the future. The project is called “Puerta Digital Asia – Sudamérica” (Asia – South America Digital Gate) and aims to deploy more than 20 K km of cable in the Pacific Ocean.

This project would make Chile one of the most important digital hubs in the region. Although South America maintains an Internet connection with the rest of the world, no cable goes directly to Asia.

China, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore are the Asian countries interested in the project. Australia, New Zealand, and France (in French Polynesia) would also participate as intermediate stops.

Three ways to connect Asia with South America

The project contemplates three possible routes to connect with a submarine cable to Valparaiso with Shanghai, passing through Easter Island, Auckland, and Sydney. Some of the proposes also consider joining Chile with Tahiti and Tokyo.

The Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications (MTT) of Chile together with CAF (a development bank of Latin America) signed yesterday a Technical Cooperation Agreement for $ 3M. The primary purpose of the agreement is to finance the feasibility studies of the Submarine Cable Integration Project.

This study will allow us to understand the technical, legal, and financial needs better to create a digital integration system in the region connected by a fiber optic cable. The first results of this study will be available in the second semester of 2019. In the year 2020, the MTT will constitute a consortium that will be in charge of the project and, later, will start the construction of the cable.

Fiber optic cables are the most commonly used for Internet connections. The design for this project includes two pairs of fiber optic capable of transmitting between 10 to 20 Tbps, enough speed to download all the episodes of The Simpsons in just one-tenth of a second.

A gate to improve productivity

In the signing of the agreement, Gloria Hutt Hesse, Minister of Transport and Telecommunications, mentioned that the study “will allow us to know the possibilities of drawing the project, which positions the country as the gateway of data entry to the entire region, and as a place attractive for the location of data centers that connect to this fiber. In this way, we advance in the development of our agenda in telecommunications, known as ‘Digital Matrix.'”

Pamela Gidi Masías, deputy minister of Telecommunications, mentioned that “the Government has the political and economic will to transform Chile into a digital hub relevant to the region, and that is why we are promoting this submarine connection initiative with Asia.” The official also commented that there are other projects for the deployment of terrestrial fiber in the border crossings of Chile, in addition to the internal projects of Fibra Óptica Nacional (FON) and Fibra Óptica Austral (FOA), which would double the connection capacity of the country.

One of the government’s commitments is to ensure that part of the route passes through Easter Island. A better Internet connection in Easter Island can improve the island’s digital connectivity and allow the introduction of digital processes in activities such as tourism.

Argentina, Brazil, and Ecuador have supported the Chilean initiative. These countries would also benefit from the project since they will be able to link with the Asian region at a lower cost.

Companies interested in conducting this study may know the bases next week.