Chile to study trans-Pacific cable to connect South America with Asia

By Dave Sherwood and Natalia A Ramos Miranda

Chile on Friday took a step toward building the first fiber-optic cable to directly connect South America and Asia, a project that has piqued the interest of China's Huawei and Japan's NEC.

The Transportation and Telecommunications ministry said it signed a $3 million agreement with the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) to finance a feasibility study for the approximately 24,000-km (15,000-mile) trans-Pacific cable.

Chile will begin accepting bids for the study next week. The ministry said it expects results by June 2020, after which it will launch a new tender for the installation of the submarine cable.

Gloria Hutt Hesse, Chile's telecommunication's minister, said in a statement 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 centers."

Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador have all expressed interest in the cable, the ministry said.

Huawei and NEC submitted pre-feasibility studies for the cable in 2017, assessing potential routes across the Pacific Ocean.

President Sebastian Pinera met with Huawei executives on a visit to China in April. Huawei said Pinera had invited the company to participate in an upcoming government auction for the project.

Chile's call for proposals comes as the country works to entice Amazon Web Services, a unit of Inc, to install a data center in the South American nation.

Both Chile and Argentina are vying for Amazon's investment.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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I’m guessing there’s not enough network traffic demand for a new dedicated Asia - South America cable.

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There are several cables but none directly to Tokyo, Hong Kong, China. With new trade agreements, banking, it would also provide income for Chile if used by other South American countries.

You can never have enough cables.

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AWS in Chile to provide services to Asia ? Don't think so. Simple Physics dictates latency and that won't work here.

Also 3 million US$ for the Feasibility study... seems a huge waste of resource capital. Sounds like someone is ripping them off big time.

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"Technically speaking" what @Zichi says is correct in terms of the way the internet is designed. The more routes you have between two end-points the better resilience. It's just a matter of what you're willing to accept in terms of how long it takes to send/receive between those end points.

Earthquakes are renown for effecting internet connectivity between regions:

Online Gamer's are particularly sensitive to latency issues, and will often complain about "ping" times.

So, perhaps the real demand for such a direct link between Asia and South American, is to encourage data center shadowing - but with the growing power of the European GDPR one has to wonder whether this is rapidly becoming an outdated requirement.

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AWS in Chile to provide services to Asia ? Don't think so. Simple Physics dictates latency and that won't work here.

An AWS in Chile is likely to provide services to South America

("Both Chile and Argentina are vying for Amazon's investment.")

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@lostrune - exactly the point I'm making. It does not need a direct link to Asia but simply a reliable datacenter that can service the region.

This is a bit troubling though... Power cut to Hospitals in order to provide continued power for the Amazon Data Centers... will be a news-story of the future.

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