Illustration for high-speed internet

Spain and Brazil to create subsea fibre-optic cable link by 2019

Image credit: Dreamstime

The Spanish and Brazilian governments have teamed up to lay an undersea cable in the Atlantic Ocean to provide fast online and cloud services to the citizens of both countries by 2019, underscoring efforts to route communications outside the USA.

The EllaLink subsea cable will connect to data centres in Madrid and São Paulo - as well as in Lisbon, Portugal - using shielded fibre rings, officials announced. The cable will also connect the archipelagos of Madeira, Spain's Canary Islands and Africa's Cape Verde along its subsea route, they added.

At the event in São Paulo, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said the venture to build the first subsea fibre-optic cable linking Europe to Brazil should help improve data security and privacy for countries using the new cable because it will enable the routing of all calls and internet navigation outside of the US.

The 9,200km-long (5,700-mile) cable will be capable of transmitting data at a projected rate of 72 terabytes per second. This will be approximately seven times the size of existing communications capacity between Latin America and the rest of the world, according to Alfonso Gajate, president of EulaLink, one of the partners in the venture. Cost estimates for the project have yet to be announced.

Currently, the only existing direct link between Europe and South America is Atlantis-2, a 40Gbit/s cable laid in 1999 by a consortium of voice operators.

The idea for the new subsea fibre-optic cable has gained traction almost four years after former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and other officials were the target of personal and economic espionage by US intelligence agencies.

Documents leaked by former US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden in 2013 showed the US National Security Agency had tapped Rousseff’s telephone calls and those of millions of other Brazilians.

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