Survey work starts for $100m FOA cable to link southern Chile

12 March 2018 | Alan Burkitt-Gray


Surveys have started for a new subsea cable that will improve southern Chile’s connections to the internet.

Geo Explorer, ChileThe 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 Patagonia.

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 Horn.

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 said.

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.