Country Development, Subtel and the Magallanes Regional Government sign an agreement to promote the deployment of the first Antarctic submarine cable
It would be the first fiber optic network connecting the White Continent to the rest of the world, the potential extension of which would encompass the nearly one thousand kilometers that separate Puerto Williams from King George Island.
Desarrollo Pais press release
November 26, 2021
Punta Arenas – This Thursday, Desarrollo País, the Under-Secretariat of Telecommunications (Subtel) and the regional government of Magallanes signed an agreement to promote the deployment of an optical fiber submarine cable that connects Antarctica to the rest of the world through Chile, an exceptional fact in the history of the white continent.
This agreement will promote the implementation of a Market Consultation process that promotes the preparation of a technical, legal, economic and financial feasibility study.
Telecommunications Undersecretary Francisco Moreno, Magallanes Regional Governor Jorge Flies and Country Development Director Patricio Rey participated in the signing of the agreement, which was held in Punta Arenas.
“The signing of this agreement reaffirms Chile’s historic commitment to Antarctica. Starting the studies to bring the first submarine fiber optic cable there is a step that reaffirms our leadership position on the continent and our efforts to put the interests of science and the progress of all mankind at the center. As a government, we are determined to carry out this huge project and, in this way, strategically contribute to the concerns of the international community and broaden the development of scientific cooperation, ”said Minister of Transport and Telecommunications, Gloria. Hutt.
“Although it is a continent based on scientific research, Antarctica today has huge limits due to insufficient digital connectivity. Through this project, and thanks to the deployment of the Southern Optical Fiber (FOA) in Magallanes and Tierra del Fuego, we aspire that the large volumes of scientific information resulting from the multiple and transcendental surveys that are carried out on this continent , such as as climate change and biological evolution, travel from Antarctica to the rest of the world via Chilean telecommunications networks. We are taking the first step to create a digital hub in Antarctica and consolidate Chile’s position as the region’s digital hub, ”said Telecommunications Undersecretary Francisco Moreno.
The potential route considers a distance of about a thousand kilometers from Puerto Williams to Antarctica, presenting an absolute advantage over other continents. One of the factors favoring the deployment of the Antarctic submarine cable are the facilities offered by the landing station located in Puerto Williams, the closest to this continent, and which offers a unique opportunity for the deployment of a cable. fiber optic. across the Southern Ocean.
This infrastructure installed in Tierra del Fuego, belonging to the Southern Fiber Optic, offers a comparative advantage over other projects evaluated in the world, which would make it possible to reduce costs, to establish a high capacity digital channel for the development of all activities in Antarctica and interconnect this continent with the rest of the world thanks to the vast networks deployed in Chile.
Director General for National Development Patricio Rey said that “this step is the start of a long journey that aims to provide Antarctica with a connection to the global high-speed grid. This infrastructure could bring the white continent considerably closer to the world and allow the sharing of scientific information in real time with research centers around the world ”.
The implementation of the Antarctic Connection is also promoted by the Regional Government of Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica, an entity that tries to promote the development of the region, science, connectivity, logistics and tourism, sectors that present a special position in relation to the white continent. .
“For the regional government of Magallanes and the Chilean Antarctic, whose historical characteristics as a region have been isolation, the possibility of being connected to the world by optical fiber is a fundamental element for the 21st century. This fact materialized with the Southern Fiber Optic, but part of the territory of Magallanes is in the Chilean Antarctica and in an act of extension of the national territory, of XXI century sovereignty in science and technology, the advancement of the Austral Optic fiber and Antarctic fiber would have a great impact not only for the region of Magallanes, but also for the history of Chile and the international agreement of the Antarctic Treaty ”, indicated the regional governor of Magallanes, Jorge Flies.