Chile moves forward in laying Latin America to Asia submarine cable



Subsea connectivity

This would be the first direct fibre-optic link between the two continents and both Huawei and NEC are already sniffing around the mammoth project.

Chile is further moving towards laying a fibre-optic submarine cable to directly connect South America and Asia, after financing a $3m feasibility study. The country’s Transportation and Telecommunications ministry is financing the study with the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF).

The potential 24,000km trans-Pacific cable is attracting the interest of both China’s Huawei and Japan’s NEC. Huawei is already working in Chile deploying a fibre-optic cable that is linking the south of the country to the north.

Chile says it is now accepting bids for the feasibility study, with the ministry expecting study results by June 2020. If the project is given the green light, a tender for the submarine project will be launched.

Gloria Hutt Hesse, Chile telecommunication’s minister, said the cable would position the country as the “gateway for the entry of data to the region and as an attractive location to establish data centres”.

Chile says countries including Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador have expressed interest in getting involved in the cable project. Both Huawei and NEC submitted pre-feasibility studies for the cable in 2017, which included assessing potential routes for it across the Pacific Ocean.

Argentina and Chile are currently competing with each other to get Amazon Web Services to build a hyperscale data centre in their country. Google recently landed its 10,000km four-fibre pair Curie submarine cable from Los Angeles to Valparaíso, Chile. The cable will aid speedier and more efficient data services between the US and Latin America and support Google’s own growth plans across the region.

The Valparaíso landing station is being linked to the Google data centre located at Quilicura, near the capital Santiago, which was officially opened last year. It is the first new submarine cable to land in Chile for around 20 years, with Valparaíso connected to one of Equinix’s data centres in Los Angeles.