Chile signs agreement for Antarctic cable feasibility study funding

Chile has entered into an agreement to secure funding for the feasibility study of an Antarctic cable project. This study aims to assess the practicality and potential of establishing a cable connection to Antarctica.

Antarctic iceberg floating in ocean

Two years after initially announcing the initiative, the Chilean government has officially partnered with the Latin American development bank CAF to commence feasibility studies for an Antarctic fiber cable project. 

The aim of this collaboration, as stated by telecoms regulator Subtel, is to evaluate the project’s viability, which is set to provide the essential infrastructure for data transmission from the Antarctic region. This effort builds on a previous agreement established in November 2021, involving Desarrollo País, Subtel, and the Magallanes region, to deploy a submarine cable between Antarctica and Chile. The project is primarily anticipated to serve the needs of research and academia in the region.

Why does it matter?

The Antarctic Cable Project aims to establish high-speed and reliable digital connectivity in Antarctica, which would offer several advantages to the continent. These include improving research capabilities by enabling faster and more efficient data transfer, benefiting scientists and researchers working in Antarctic. It could also serve as a scientific platform, facilitating the monitoring of ocean conditions, seismic activity and the impact of climate change on Antartica. Furthermore, the cable would enhance logistics and safety by enabling real-time communication and data exchange between different research stations and the outside world, thereby improving logistics and ensuring the safety of personnel working in Antarctica.

Moreover, the connectivity provided by the cable would foster collaboration among the more than 30 countries with research bases in Antarctica, facilitating joint efforts to address global scientific and climate challenges.