Chile Inaugurates Southern Fiber System, Launches New Digital Divide Plan
May 29, 2019
Chilean president Sebastian Pinera has inaugurated the country’s Fibra Optica Austral (FOA) southern fibre project and presented a new plan to reduce the country’s digital divide at an event in Puerto Montt. The president was joined by executives of Huawei Marine, which was awarded the tender for the submarine section and one of three land-based sections of the FOA project together with local operator CTR.
The consortium is currently extending a 3,000km submarine cable from Puerto Montt to Puerto Williams with landings at Caleta Tortel and Punta Arenas plus a land-based stretch from Puerto Natales to Porvenir in Magallanes. The aim of the public-private partnership project is to boost telecommunications for the 300,000 Chileans who live in the underserved Patagonia region, bringing much-needed economic, tourism and trade benefits.
The new “Digital Matrix” plan launched by Pinera is designed to reduce the digital divide by focusing on a number of priorities, including setting a minimum required broadband speed, reducing mobile access charges, eliminating roaming fees with Argentina, Peru and Brazil, among others, and implementing 5G technology. The government also wants to connect all public educational establishments to the internet and double the number of ChileGob Wi-Fi hotspots by 2022.