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Antarctica is about to get its first submarine internet cable

The Humboldt Cable will connect Oceania, South America and Antarctica


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Two infrastructure companies from Chile and Singapore are preparing to build the first submarine internet cable to dock on the shores of Antarctica.

The product of a partnership between Desarrollo País and H2 Cable, a subsidiary of BW Digital, the Humboldt Cable cable will run 15,000km from Chile to Australia, with offshoots landing in New Zealand and two islands off the Chilean mainland.

Significantly, however, there will also be a 2,000km branch connecting Antarctica, which is currently the only continent that does not benefit from the increased speeds and capacity that undersea cables afford.

Connecting Antarctica

According to a research paper from 2021, cited by The Register, Antarctica’s Scott Base and McMurdo Station currently suffer from an extreme lack of networking capacity, “insufficient to even be considered broadband.”

“A summer population of up to 1,000 people share what is equivalent to the connection enjoyed by a typical family of three in the United States,” wrote Peter Neff, who authored the report.

The arrival of the Humboldt Cable on Antarctic shores would minimize the reliance on slow and patchy satellite internet, offering those living and working in the area access to a hardwired connection for the first time.

Presumably, the new connection will be of particular benefit to researchers operating out of the area, who might currently struggle to pass large quantities of data to collaborators elsewhere in the world, for example.

The cable will also be of great significance for the residents of South America, who will benefit from a significant increase in capacity.

“The Humboldt Cable will be the most significant piece of subsea infrastructure connecting South America, paving the way for deployment of essential datacenters, AI and other data-driven technologies to help to put Chile on the digital map,” said H2 and Desarrollo País.

As it stands, the route and schedule have been formalized, but the two companies are still courting potential investors before launching procurement and engaging with stakeholders at the anchor locations.

Via The Register (opens in new tab)

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