Tip of southern Chile to be linked to global internet

Alan Burkitt-Gray
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Four companies bid for government of Chile project to build subsea cable as part of 3,000km of open-access fibre plan

FOA ChileFour companies have responded to the Chilean government’s request for proposals to build a cable connecting the very southern tip of the country to a new national open-access network.

The companies that have responded to the call for proposals are: Telefónica Empresas Chile, Communications and Rural Telephony (CTR), Vupoint System and Austral.

The total length of the system, called the Fiber Optic Austral (Southern Optical Fiber or FOA) project, is put at 3,000km. The system includes a terrestrial element, for which a number of companies – Claro, GTD, Telefónica, VTR and Wom – have been in touch with Subtel, the Subsecretaría de Telecomunicaciones de Chile, part of the government.

The whole project, costed at $100 million, includes terrestrial infrastructure in the Patagonia region with a subsea cable from Puerto Montt, in the centre of the country, to Puerto Williams, in the far south. It will offer “high capacity, open and non-discriminatory” connectivity, undersecretary of telecommunications Rodrigo Ramiez told El Diario de Cooperativa.

All providers and telecommunications services will have access to the new connection.

Transport and telecommunications secretary Gabriel Muñoz said the project “puts us in an extraordinary position to generate important initiatives for the social, economic and cultural development”.

The winner of the subsea contract will be announced in early October, say reports from Chile. Proposals for the terrestrial section of the project are due in this week, with the winner to be confirmed shortly afterwards. The whole construction period is expected to last 26 months.