Brazil's state-run telco Telebras has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with communications infrastructure firm Silica Networks for the construction of a fiber optics network connecting Brazil, Chile and Argentina, Telebras said in a statement on Tuesday (Jan 14).
Silica Networks operates in Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Peru and the US. In Argentina and Chile, the company is said to run fiber networks with high capacity backbones, connecting the cities of Santiago and Osorno in Chile to Mendoza, Córdoba, Rosário, Buenos Aires, Bahía Blanca, Neuquen, Bariloche and Paso de Los Libres in Argentina.
Telebras, in turn, operates a nationwide fiber optics backbone currently estimated at over 25,000km in length.
With the partnership, the plan is for the establishment of a fiber route between the cities of Uruguaiana, in Brazil's Rio Grande do Sul state, to Chile's pacific coast, going through the city of Paso de los Libres in Argentina.
Telebras claims the project will enable it to have access to Pacific networks. No timetable or budget estimates have yet been provided for the project.
It is worth mentioning that this is not the first "fiber integration" project to be championed or supported by Telebras. For example, the telco is behind an initiative for a South American fiber ring among the member states of Unasur, the Union of South American Nations.
The main alleged goal is to avoid the traffic of data through routes abroad, reducing latency levels and improving the stability of connections, as well as increasing countries' "sovereignty" over intra-regional communications.
So far, the ring is more advanced in the interconnections with Uruguay and Argentina. Paraguay and Peru are expected to follow. It is not clear whether the MoU with Silica is part of the South American ring initiative or not.
Telebras' board has also approved the creation of a subsidiary to manage a cable route project connecting Brazil to Europe.
The Brazil-Europe route is part of a broader transcontinental project interconnecting South America, Europe, the US and Africa with fiber, which is also championed by Telebras. The project has barely advanced since 2011, however, in part due to budget constraints.
The most advanced stretch connects Brazil's Fortaleza to Angola.
After the reports of US monitoring of Brazilian communications, Brazil has prioritized the network with Europe.