12 March 2018
| Alan Burkitt-Gray
Surveys have started for a new subsea cable that will improve southern Chile’s connections to the internet.
The cable system Fibra Optica Austral (FOA) will allow the
Chilean company Comunicación y Telefonía Rural
(CTR) to connect remote communities in the Chilean part of
FOA will start at Puerto Montt and connect the Patagonian
cities of Caleta Tortel and Punta Arenas through to Puerto
Williams in the far south. EGS Survey said that Geo Explorer
will carry out its survey in remote areas where weather
conditions are expected to be marginal most of the time.
Puerto Williams – with a population of around 2,800
– is on the Beagle Channel that separates the island
of Navarino from the Argentinian territory of Tierra del Fuego.
It is the starting point for many sailing trips around Cape
The Geo Explorer vessel, which belongs to Hong
Kong-headquartered EGS Survey, has already started work from
Puerto Montt, said the company.
Paola Tapia, the Chilean minister of transport and
telecommunication, visited the Geo Explorer at the start of the
work. She said the FOA system will improve internet
connectivity and avoid internet blackouts in the southern part
of Chile. "The system is an example for future development
projects that the new Chilean Government needs to support," she
Last August the Chilean government, which put the cost of the
project at $100 million, said FOA would offer "high capacity,
open and non-discriminatory" connectivity. CTR won the bid for
the project against Telefónica Empresas Chile, Vupoint
System and Austral.