The regional government of Magallanes extreme south of Chile signed an agreement with the Telecommunications ministry and Country Development Secretariat to study the feasibility of an optical fiber from the region to the Antarctic peninsula.
The project is expected to begin next year will look into the different options plus the technical, financial, market and legal challenges of such an undertaking. The idea is to provide the scientific and military bases in the peninsula with a faster internet, which should also benefit the cruise industry and other undertakings.
Chilean authorities are aware it won't be easy or cheap since the thousand kilometers line will demand a heavy investment, but considered in the long term it will pay itself and ensure a great step forward for Chile in international affairs and presence, as Magallanes will connect Antarctica with the rest of the world..
The Telecommunications Under Secretary, Francisco Moreno, the elected regional governor of Magallanes Jorge Flies and the General Manager of Country Development, Patricio Rey signed the agreement. Apparently the continent connection is planned from Puerto Williams, since there is sufficient infrastructure.
The Chilean minister of Transport and Telecommunications, Gloria Hutt, in a video link said that the agreement reaffirms Chile's commitment with Antarctica. To begin studying conditions for the first submarine optical fiber cable reaffirms Chile's leadership in the continent and our efforts to place it at the heart of communications for the interests of science and progress for the whole of humanity. As government we are determined to crystallize the project and contribute strategically to the concerns of the international community and increase scientific cooperation
Under Secretary Moreno added that despite Antarctica being a continent dedicated to scientific research it has huge limitations such as insufficient digital connectivity. With this project we aspire that a great flow of scientific information from the different research centers in Antarctica such as climate change, biologic evolution can circulate to the rest of the world through Chilean communications networks. We are giving the first step to create a digital Antarctic hub and consolidate Chile as the digital hub of the region”.