MONTEVIDEO – Uruguay and Google signed an agreement to lay a new undersea fiber-optic cable that will link to another conduit already under construction to vastly improve broadband connectivity between the U.S. and the Southern Cone of South America.
The 2,000-kilometer (1,200-mile) link between Maldonado, Uruguay, and Santos, Brazil, is expected to be complete by late 2017.
“This opens to Uruguay and the region great opportunities for connectivity with the area and the whole world,” Google executive Pedro Less Andrade said in a ceremony at the headquarters of Uruguayan state telecoms company Antel.
“The increase in infrastructure and broadband capacity is a very big effort that cannot be completed by just one entity, so we feel it is important to join forces,” Less said.
The Tannat Project, which requires a $30 million investment from Antel, will link to the Monet Project, an undersea fiber-optic cable connecting the Brazilian cities of Santos and Fortaleza with Boca Raton, Florida.
The Google-led consortium behind the Monet Project also includes Antel.
“This project brings great joy for all Uruguayans, it is the most important international project that Uruguay has joined in terms of infrastructure,” Industry, Energy and Mines Minister Carolina Cosse said.
Once complete, the Tannat cable will provide “enormous” international broadband capacity enabling Antel to go from being a broadband user to a provider for Uruguay and Latin America, the minister said.
Noting that all countries in the region need additional Internet capacity, Antel president Andres Tolosa said the project opens the door for Uruguay to sell bandwidth to Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, Brazil and other Latin American nations.
There are an estimated 333 million Internet users in Latin America.