Chile Telecommunications Subsea Fiber-Optic Cables
Chile is developing a subsea cable project to connect the country with Australia, with the possibility of a subsea cable from Chile to Antarctica.
In 2020, the Chilean government announced a plan to construct a subsea cable to connect Chile and Asia, followed two years later with an announcement to study the feasibility of a subsea cable between Chile and Antarctica. These projects offer opportunities to U.S. suppliers of fiberoptic and other submarine cable communication technologies.
The Humboldt Cable
The Humboldt Cable, a 14,000-kilometer subsea cable between Valparaíso, Chile and Sydney, Australia, will be the first cable to cross the South Pacific and give South America a direct link to Australia. The cable is being developed by Desarrollo País, the state-owned company that develops infrastructure projects and H2 Cable, a subsidiary of Singapore-based BW Digital. A feasibility study estimates that construction of the cable will cost $400 million. Chile will finance the construction through pre-sales of cable capacity to telecom companies, internet service providers, and private sector companies, as well as partnerships with other regional countries.
In August 2022, Desarrollo País and H2 Cable launched a Request for Proposal (RFP) to select the company that will construct the cable. Proposals must be submitted by October 7, 2022. In addition to the main route, the RFP includes quotation for possible branches to two Chilean island territories (Juan Fernandez Island and Eastern Island) and New Zealand and Antarctica. Construction will begin in 2023 and it is estimated that the construction will take three years.
Subsea Cable to Antarctica
The Humboldt Cable RFP also includes the option of construction of a branch to Antarctica, which would be the first high speed fiberoptic cable to the continent. Supporters of the branch argue that the Humboldt Cable’s route would be an economical means to provide reliable high-speed internet to the growing number of Antarctic research facilities.
In addition to a possible branch from the Humboldt Cable to Antarctica, Chile is also exploring a separate 1,000-kilometer submarine cable that would connect Puerto Williams, Chile’s southernmost city to King George Island. In November 2021, the Undersecretariat of Telecommunications announced the launch of a feasibility study to build the 1,000-kilometer cable.
Further information please contact Commercial Specialist Isabel M. Valenzuela.