Brazil Studying Underwater Fiber Cable Network in the Amazon Basin

According to BNamericas, Brazilian authorities are studying a proposal to deploy nearly 8,000km of underwater fiber optic cables in the Amazon basin.

Plans were presented to communications minister Ricardo Berzoini for consideration in late January.

If the initiative is given the green light, a pilot project could get underway as early as March in Amazonas state capital Manaus, according to proposal documents.

The so-called Conexão Norte (north connection) project was drawn up by Brazilian fiber optic systems manufacturer Padtec. The firm is working in partnership with the country's national research network RNP, state-controlled telco Telebras and state-run power firm Eletrobras and the army's ICT department, among other stakeholders.

The proposed network, consisting of six fiber optic routes totaling 7,784km, would make use of the basin's riverbeds to link different sites in the Amazon region.

The idea is to connect the network to the national fiber backbone, with the goal of boosting connectivity in one of the country's most remote regions and meeting one of the objectives of the national broadband plan (PNBL) – as well as its latest incarnation, branded Banda Larga para Todos (broadband for all.)

Promoted as one of President Dilma Rousseff's flagship infrastructure programs for her second term, Banda Larga para Todos aims to take fiber to 90% of the country's territory and to double the country's average broadband speed in four years.

Few details about the project have been published and its future could be threatened by budget cuts which have been announced by the country's new economic team.

INTEROCEANIC OPTION

As well as wanting to improve connectivity in the north of its territory, Brazil ultimately is looking to create an Atlantic-Pacific link by extending fiber networks out across Peru, Colombia, Venezuela and the Guyanas, which would also help to reduce network latency. As Padtec is a local firm proponents of the project point out that all technology employed in the initiative would be Brazilian, strengthening national industry at a critical time.

Source: BNamericas, By Pedro Ozores

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