Antarctica is about to get its first undersea internet cable
Two infrastructure companies from Chile and Singapore are preparing to build the first undersea internet cable to dock on the shores of Antarctica.
The result of a partnership between Desarrollo País and H2 Cable, a subsidiary of BW Digital, the Humboldt Cable will run 15,000 km from Chile to Australia, with offshoots landing in New Zealand and two islands off the Chilean mainland.
Significantly, however, there will also be a 2,000 km branch connecting Antarctica, which is currently the only continent that does not benefit from the increased speeds and capacity that undersea cables allow.
According to a 2021 research paper, cited by The registerAntarctica’s Scott Base and McMurdo Station currently suffer from an extreme lack of networking capacity, “insufficient even to be considered broadband”.
“A summer population of up to 1,000 people shares what equates to the connection enjoyed by a typical family of three in the United States,” wrote Peter Neff, author of the report.
Bringing the Humboldt Cable to Antarctic shores would reduce reliance on slow and spotty satellite internet, giving people living and working in the region access to a wired connection for the first time.
Presumably, the new connection will be particularly advantageous for researchers operating outside the region, who might currently struggle to transmit large amounts of data to collaborators elsewhere in the world, for example.
The cable will also be of great importance to residents of South America, who will benefit from a significant increase in capacity.
“The Humboldt Cable will be the most important undersea infrastructure connecting South America, paving the way for the deployment of critical data centers, AI and other data-driven technologies to help 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 wooing potential investors before launching the procurement and engaging with stakeholders at the sites. ‘anchoring.
Through the registry (opens in a new tab)