This month Google announced its plans to deploy a submarine cable that will connect the West Coast of the United States with Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. The cable, designed by Subcom, has an innovative feature that will allow connection to a single power source, thereby reducing latency. The project joins other cables that connect the region with the world, but which other submarine cables are there in South America?

According to TeleGraphy, there are around 426 submarine cables in 2021, a number that is constantly changing as new cables are deployed each year, while older ones are retired. Submarine cables in service today total 1.3 million kilometers.

From Equinix’s Global Interconnection Index, Latin America would be the region with the fastest growth in interconnection capacity for the next few years. It is expected that between 2019-2021, the increase will exceed 50% annually.

Submarine cables in South America
Submarine cables in South America. Source: TeleGraphy

Submarine cables connecting with North and Central America

  • Curie: Deployed in 2020, Curie is a submarine cable in the Pacific supplied by Subcom with a length of 10,476 km. The cable is owned by Google and has been deployed to improve the tech giant’s services. The connection points are Balboa, Panama; El Segundo, the United States; and Valparaíso, Chile. According to Google, the Curie cable has four pairs of fiber and a capacity of 72 Tbps.
  • South Pacific Cable System (SPSC) / Mistral: This submarine cable announced for the middle of this month is 7,300 km lengthy and is owned by América Móvil and Telxius. The cable has a capacity of 72 Tbps and connects Arica (Chile), Lurin (Peru), Puerto San Jose (Guatemala), Salinas (Ecuador), Valparaíso (Chile).
  • Pan American (PAN-AM): This submarine fiber optic cable was put into service in 1999. It has a length of 7,225 km and is jointly owned by AT&T, Telefonica del Peru, Softbank Corp, Telecom Italia Sparkle, CANTV, Tata Communications, Telefónica from Argentina, Telstra, Verizon, Entel Chile, Telecom Argentina, Telconet, Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, C&W Networks, Embratel and CNT. The connection points of the Pan-Am cable are: Arica (Chile), Baby Beach (Aruba), Barranquilla, (Colombia), Colon (Panama), Lurin (Peru), Panama (Panama), Punta Carnero (Ecuador), Punto Fijo (Venezuela), St. Croix, VI (Puerto Rico) and Santo Tomás, (Virgin Islands).
  • South America-1 (SAm-1): SAM-1 is a submarine cable with a length of 25,000 km and 20 Tbps capacity. It is owned by Telxius and began service in 2001. In the shape of a ring, the cable has ground connections in Arica (Chile), Barranquilla (Colombia), Boca Raton (FL, United States), Fortaleza (Brazil), Las Toninas ( Argentina), Lurin and Mancora (Peru), Puerto Barrios and Puerto San José (Guatemala), Punta Cana (Dominican Republic), Punta Carnero (Ecuador), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Salvador (Brazil), San Juan (Puerto Rico ), Santos (Brazil) and Valparaíso (Chile).
  • AURORA Cable System: The Aurora submarine cable system is planned to enter service in early 2023. The cable will be 5,500 km long and have a capacity of 15Tbps. The owner of the cable is FP Telecommunications, which, with the help of Alcatel, will have ground connections in Balboa and María Chiquita (Panama), Cancun (Mexico), Cartagena (Colombia), Georgetown (Cayman Islands), Manta (Ecuador), Puerto Barrios (Guatemala), Puerto Cortés (Honduras) and Sarasota, (FL, United States).
  • Pacific Caribbean Cable System (PCCS): The PCCS is a 6,000 km long submarine fiber optic cable with a capacity of 80 Tbps. The cable was commissioned in September 2015 and is jointly owned by C&W Networks, Telconet, Setar, United Telecommunication Services (UTS), and Telxius. PCSS connects Jacksonville (Florida, United States) with Manta (Ecuador) and has connections in Balboa and María Chiquita (Panama), Cartagena (Colombia), Hudishibana (Aruba), Mahuma (Curaçao), San Juan (Puerto Rico) and Tortola ( Virgin Islands).
  • Maya-1: this submarine fiber optic cable has a length of 4,400 km and a capacity of 95 Gbps. It began to provide service in October 2000 and is co-owned by Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Hondutel, Telefonica, Orbitel, Telecom Italia Sparkle, C&W Networks, Embratel, ETB, Axtel, Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, BICS, Prepa Networks, Orange , Tricom, RSL Telecom and América Móvil. The cable connects Hollywood (Florida) with Tolú (Colombia) and has connections in Cancun (Mexico), Half Moon Bay (Cayman Islands), María Chiquita (Panama), Puerto Cortés (Honduras), and Puerto Limón (Costa Rica).
  • ARCOS: The Americas Region Caribbean Optical-Ring System (ARCOS) is a ring-shaped submarine cable connecting South America with the Caribbean region from Miami (United States) to Nassau (Bahamas) since 2001. The cable has 8,600 km of extension and a capacity of 960 Gbps. The system is co-owned by C&W Networks, CANTV, Codetel, Hondutel, Belize Telemedia, Enitel, AT&T, Alestra, Verizon, RACSA, United Telecommunication Services (UTS), Telecarrier, Tricom USA, Telecomunicaciones Ultramarinas de Puerto Rico, Internexa, Orbinet Overseas, Telepuerto San Isidro, Bahamas Telecommunications Company, Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, Orbitel. ARCOS has 24 landing points that include Venezuela and Colombia.
  • Caribbean Express (CX): This submarine fiber optic cable has been announced by Ocean Networks and is expected to enter service in 2024. The extension and capacity of the cable have not been announced, but it is expected to connect Cartagena (Colombia) with Cancún (Mexico), María Chiquita (Panama), and West Palm Beach (United States).
  • America Movil Submarine Cable System-1 (AMX-1): AMX-1 is a submarine cable exclusively owned by América Móvil in operation since 2014. The cable has an extension of 17,500 km with landing points in Jacksonville and Miami (United States). Unidos), Puerto Barrios (Guatemala), Barranquilla and Cartagena (Colombia); Fortalezay Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Puerto Plata (Dominican Republic) San Juan (Puerto Rico) and Cancun (Mexico).
  • Colombia-Florida Subsea Fiber (CFX-1): This 2,400 km submarine cable owned by C&W Networks was put into operation in 2008. The cable has a capacity of 12Tbps and connects Boca Raton (Florida) with Cartagena, passing through the Morant Point and Copa Club landing points in Jamaica.
  • GlobeNet: This 23,500 km long cable with 1.36 Tbps capacity connects Colombia, Brazil, and Venezuela with Bermuda and the United States.
  • Americas-II: This 8,373 km, 2.5 Gbps capacity cable was put into service in 2000. The cable is owned by several providers in Europe and the United States. The cable connects French Guyana, Brazil, and Venezuela with the various Caribbean countries and with the United States.
  • BRUSA: With an extension of 11,000 km and a capacity of 160 Tbps, BRUSA is the fiber optic submarine cable with the highest capacity that interconnects the American continent, according to its owner Telxius. This cable entered service in August 2018 and connects Brazil with the United States from four landing points.
  • Seabras-1: Submarine cable of 10,800 km in length and 48 Tbps owned by Seaborn Networks. The cable has been in service since September 2017 and connects Brazil with the United States in New Jersey.
  • Firmina: The Firmina cable has been announced this month by Google. Although its extension is still unknown, it is known that it will connect the West Coast of the United States with Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. The cable will incorporate technology that will allow you to have only one power source. The cable is planned to enter service in 2023.

Submarine cables connecting with Europe and Africa

  • EllaLink: This submarine cable began in service in 2021. The company, with the same name as the cable, assures that it is the fiber optic submarine cable with the lowest latency, as well as being the first to connect South America with Europe for Internet services. , since the Atlantis-II cable does not have the capacity for that. EllaLink has an extension of 6,200 km and a capacity of 40 Tbps, with landing points in Brazil, Cape Verde, and Portugal.
  • Atlantis-2: Cable with an extension of 8,500 km and a transmission capacity of 160 Gbps. The cable connects Brazil and Argentina with Portugal, Senegal, Cape Verde, and Spain since February 2000. The cable is owned by several telecommunications companies.
  • South Atlantic Cable System (SACS): Submarine cable of 6,165 km and 40 Tbps capacity that connects Brazil with Angola. The cable, owned by Angola Cables, became operational in 2018.
  • South Atlantic Inter Link (SAIL): Submarine cable with 5,800 km of extension and 32 Tbps of capacity. South Atlantic Inter Link is owned by Cameroonian telecommunications company Camtel and China Unicom. Huawei announced that it would be in charge of deploying the cable, which entered service in 2020.

Submarine cables connecting with the Caribbean

The following submarine cables interconnect countries in South America and the Caribbean.

  • South American Crossing (SAC): Submarine cable of 20,000 km in length and 3.84 Tbps of capacity. It was inaugurated in 2000 and connects Chile, Peru, Venezuela, Panama, Virgin Islands (USA), Colombia, Brazil, and Argentina.
  • ALBA-1: Submarine cable with 1 860 km of extension. This is the only submarine cable that connects Cuba with the rest of the world. It entered service in 2013.
  • Suriname-Guyana Submarine Cable System (SG-SCS): 1 249 km long cable. It connects Suriname and French Guiana with Trinidad and Tobago.
  • X-Link Submarine Cable: Cable with a short 775 km extension, has been in service since 2019. It connects Barbados, Guyana, Suriname, and Grenada, although the Grenada-Guyana and Guyana-Suriname segments are still in planning.
  • Kanawa: 1746 submarine cable from Orange company. It connects French Guiana with Martinique.

Submarine cables that connect the interior of the country

  • Venezuelan Festoon: Deployed in 1998, this 1 200 km extension submarine cable connects several cities of Venezuela by sea.
  • San Andres Isla Tolu Submarine Cable (SAIT): Deployed in 2010, this 826 km long submarine cable connects Tolú with San Andrés Island, both territories of Colombia.
  • Fibra Optica al Pacífico: Owned by Entel Bolivia, the submarine cable has landing points in two cities in Peru.
  • Prat: Property of Grupo Gtd. With a length of 3,500 km, this cable only has landing points on the coast of Chile.
  • FOS Quellon-Chacabuco: With only 350 km long, this submarine cable connects the Chilean cities of Quellon and Chacabuco.
  • Fibra Optica Austral: Cable of 2 800 km of extension owned by Subtel. Its landing points are in the south of Chile.
  • Galapagos Cable System: Submarine cable of 1,280 km in length. It is planned to enter service in 2022. It connects the Galapagos Islands with the rest of Ecuador.
  • Brazilian Festoon: In service since 1996. At 2,552 km long, its landing points are on the Brazilian coast.
  • Colombian Festoon: In service since 1997 with 400 km of extension. Its landing points are on the Colombian coast.

Cables that only connect South American countries

  • Bicentennial: 250 km long cable, connects Uruguay with Argentina. It gets its name from the anniversary of the independence struggle in Uruguay and Argentina.
  • Unisur: Submarine cable of 265 km in length, connects Uruguay with Argentina. In service since 1995.
  • Tannat: Submarine cable owned by Google, 2,000 km long. Tannat, co-owned by Google and Antel Uruguay, connects Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil.

Read also: A subsea cable system will connect Guatemala and Chile

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