Madeira calls for Brazil-Portugual cable to be diverted to islands

26 April 2016 | Alan Burkitt-Gray


The regional government of Madeira is backing a project to divert a Brazil-Portugal cable to the island group and is seeking European Union finance for the extra cost.

The project will cost €20 million, according to the regional governor of Madeira, a group of four islands off the African coast that is part of Portugal. It would require the planned Telebras-IslaLink cable connecting Portugal and Brazil to be rerouted to connect the islands.

According to Portuguese news service Público, Miguel Albuquerque, president of the regional government of Madeira, said that he is hoping for European Union funds to aid the project, which will end the monopoly of Altice’s Portugal Telecom of mainland-island communications.

The whole €164 million Telebras-IslaLink scheme was first announced in 2014, backed by Brazil’s Telebras and Spanish subsea cable company IslaLink. The two companies signed an agreement in mid-2015 to build the cable, due to connect Lisbon with Fortaleza in Brazil.

Albuquerque announced his wish for the cable to connect Madeira in a press conference at Funchal airport in the presence of European Commissioner Carlos Moedas, a Portuguese banker who is in charge of research, science and innovation for the Commission.

The cable, which will be 5,800 kilometres long, is already planned to come within 100 kilometres of Madeira. It is designed to carry data at 30 terabits/s. The cable is expected to be built in late 2017 and early 2018.