Paraguay is likely to be the next country to join the Brazil-championed South American fiber ring.
A formal interest in the project was expressed to Brazilian authorities on Thursday (Jan 30) by Paraguay's communications and public works minister Ramón Jiménez Gaona, Brazilian communications ministry MiniCom reported.
Gaona met his communications counterpart Paulo Bernardo in Brasília. On this occasion, the Paraguayan minister manifested an interest in improving his country's fiber interconnection with other Southern Cone nations.
According to minister Bernardo, the Brazil-Paraguay interconnection would not demand large amounts of resources nor be essentially complicated to be implemented, as the two countries already have a power transmission line with fiber cables in the binational Itaipu plant.
"We would only need to install the electronics in order to light the fiber up," the minister said, adding that such works could be carried out in a matter of months.
To date, the most concrete steps for the transnational fiber integration project, which is being carried out under the jurisdiction of Unasul, the Union of South American nations, have been taken with Uruguay.
In June last year, Brazil's state-run telco Telebras signed a deal with Uruguay's Antel and inaugurated an interconnection point linking the Brazilian city of Santana do Livramento, near the Uruguayan border, to the Uruguayan city of Rivera.
Telebras' then president Caio Bonilha told BNamericas last year that Argentina could soon follow as the next axis in the project, citing talks with Argentina's ArSat. At the time, he also mentioned that Peru had expressed an interest.
Despite being an "obvious" associate of the ring project, Paraguay's participation was only recently made possible as the country had been suspended from both Unasul and Mercosur after the impeachment of former president Fernando Lugo in 2012.
In a parallel initiative, Telebras signed an MoU on January 14 with communications infrastructure firm Silica Networks for the construction of a fiber optics network connecting Brazil, Chile and Argentina.