Chile has partnered with Google to lay the first-ever undersea cable directly connecting South America and the Asia-Pacific region.
The 9,200-mile fiber optic cable, named Humboldt after the renowned German polymath, boasts a staggering capacity of 144 terabytes and promises a significant boost to Chile’s internet infrastructure.
Originally poised to run through China, the project took an unexpected turn due to US intervention. The cable will now weave its way through French Polynesia before reaching its Australian terminus in Sydney.
The estimated cost of Humboldt stands around US$400 million, with the U.S. contributing a portion of the funding.
This partnership builds on Google’s longstanding relations with Chile. The tech giant established its first Latin American data center in Chile and constructed cross-Andean terrestrial connectivity linking Chile to Panama and the US West Coast. Today, Chile serves as the regional hub for Google Cloud services.
The impact of Humboldt is projected to be substantial. Citing Analysys Mason, Google estimates its submarine cables will raise Latin America’s GDP by US$178 billion by 2027 and create an additional 740,000 jobs.
“A direct fiber optic network link between South America and the Asia-Pacific region has been an ambition of the Chilean government since 2016,” Google stated in a blog post. “We’re proud to partner with Chile to turn this vision into reality and unlock new opportunities for the digital future.”