Chile, Google to make 15,000 km cable connecting LatAm and Asia

  • The Chilean government announced a partnership with Alphabet’s Google for the Humboldt Cable Project, establishing the first undersea fiber-optic cable between South America and the Asia Pacific.
  • The cable will stretch 14,800 kilometers from Valparaiso, Chile, to Sydney, Australia, boasting a capacity of 144 terabytes and a 25-year lifespan.
  • President Gabriel Boric stated that the project aims to consolidate Chile’s position as the center of digital activity in South America, creating opportunities for new industries, jobs, and improved living conditions.

Chile’s digital horizon expands

The Chilean government has revealed a groundbreaking collaboration with Alphabet‘s technology giant, Google. Dubbed the Humboldt Cable Project, this ambitious initiative aims to lay the first undersea fibre-optic cable between South America and the Asia Pacific, solidifying Chile’s status as a burgeoning hub for digital innovation. The cable, stretching an impressive 14,800 kilometres from the bustling port city of Valparaiso in Chile to Sydney, Australia, boasts a staggering capacity of 144 terabytes and is designed to endure the rigours of data transmission for an impressive 25-year lifespan, according to an official government press release.

“This cable will consolidate Chile’s position as the center of digital activity in South America.”

Gabriel Boric, president

President Gabriel Boric, speaking at a press conference in Valparaiso, expressed his optimism about the transformative impact of the Humboldt Cable Project, asserting that it would not only position Chile as a digital powerhouse in South America but also pave the way for novel industries, job creation, and improved living conditions for thousands. The announcement comes at a critical juncture when geopolitical powerhouses China and the United States vie for influence in Latin America, with undersea cables emerging as key battlegrounds in the realm of technology competition.

Also read: Google settles $5 billion privacy lawsuit over alleged covert user tracking

A volatile situation

A recent investigation by Reuters shed light on the intricate web of undersea fiber-optic cable projects aimed at connecting Latin America to Asia. Notably, two of these projects, in which Google had invested, initially intended to link to China but faced rerouting or obstruction due to diplomatic pressures from the United States. The geopolitical significance of these undersea cables is underscored by concerns from U.S. authorities regarding potential data interception by foreign spy agencies.

The complex interplay between technology, politics, and diplomacy takes center stage as China and the U.S. vie for supremacy in the region. President Xi Jinping’s diplomatic visit to Chile last October emphasized China’s commitment to strong ties with the South American nation, while U.S. President Joe Biden, in response, pledged to fortify economic connections with Latin America to counterbalance China’s expanding influence.

The Humboldt Cable Project not only represents a significant stride in Chile’s technological evolution but also acts as a tangible manifestation of the escalating global competition for dominance in emerging technologies. The undersea cable industry, a critical component of the digital infrastructure, has become a geopolitical chessboard where nations and corporations strategically position themselves to assert control over data flow, a resource increasingly recognized as the lifeblood of the modern economy.

As Chile forges ahead with this transformative venture, questions loom about the potential ramifications on the delicate balance of power in the region. The Humboldt Cable Project exemplifies the intricate dance between technological progress and political maneuvering, where nations navigate the complexities of global connectivity while grappling with the shadows of espionage concerns.

The Humboldt Cable Project stands as a testament to the intertwined destinies of technology, diplomacy, and power. It remains to be seen how this undersea endeavor will reshape the geopolitical chessboard and whether it will amplify or mitigate the ongoing struggle for influence between the world’s technological titans.


Coco Yao

Coco Yao was an intern reporter at BTW media covering artificial intelligence and media. She is studying broadcasting and hosting at the Communication School of Zhejiang.

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