Humboldt Transokean Cable to Connect Chile and Australia

Company Google has announced the groundbreaking construction of an underwater cable that will connect South America and the Asia-Pacific region. This ambitious project is a collaboration between Google, the Chilean State Infrastructure Fund of Desarrollo Pais, and the Department of Post and Telecommunications of French Polynesia (OPT).

The cable, named Humboldt, will span an impressive length of 9,200 miles (14,800 km) and will traverse the Pacific Ocean, connecting Chile to Australia. While there are already existing underwater communication lines operating between Asia and North America, such as the Southern Cross Next, and plans to construct new ones like the Hawaiki Nui, this marks the first direct connection between South America and the Asian-Pacific region.

Google states that the Humboldt cable will be integrated into the South Pacific Connect initiative, a project announced in October aimed at enhancing connectivity between continents by complementing existing lines.

In August 2022, Desarrollo Pais and Singapore’s BW Digital subsidiary, H2 Cable, organized a tender for the cable laying. The planned route will connect the city of Valparaiso in Chile to Sydney, with potential branches extending to the Chilean archipelago Juan Fernandez, the Easter Island, New Zealand, and Antarctica.

The approximately $400 million project, according to Desarrollo Pais, will position Chile as a data transfer hub between Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region. Construction is expected to be completed by 2026.

The United States views the Humboldt underwater cable as an opportunity to expand economic ties in the Americas. The US State Department’s Bureau for Cyberspace and Digital Policy has allocated $15 million to ensure high-speed and reliable internet access for several Pacific region countries. This forms part of the US government’s efforts to collaborate with American IT companies to develop a stable internet infrastructure in the region.

However, the United States also faces competition from China. In May 2022, China extended an offer to assist Southern countries in modernizing their internet infrastructure using Chinese technologies. While some states have responded positively to this proposal, others remain cautious. For instance, the former president of the Federated States of Micronesia expressed the belief that his country can manage without external assistance.

/Reports, release notes, official announcements.