Chile snubs China with Transoceanic Cable decision

Chile has chosen Australia as the final destination for the Transoceanic Cable, the first fibre-optic subsea Pacific cable to directly connect South America and the Asia-Pacific region. The government in Santiago has been weighing up competing proposals from Japan and China, and its decision to endorse Tokyo’s plan to have the cable come ashore in Auckland and then Sidney instead of Shanghai is a snub to Beijing and further evidence of Japan’s growing embroilment in the US-China trade war and Washington’s growing success in pressurising its allies to exclude China from up-and-coming global telecommunications projects.
“We have chosen the route that requires less initial investment, less operating costs, and less technical challenges – that is, less risk,`’ Chile’s minister of transport and telecommunications Gloria Hutt announced. “We chose Australia because it is a digital hub in Oceania and already has five operational submarine cables that connect to Asia, with two more in the pipeline. [The Transoceanic Cable] is the first initiative that will connect the region with Oceania and finally with Asia, opening up enormous opportunities for Chile to become the Digital Hub of South America on the Pacific side, and making it an attraction for various investments such as data centres and related to digital commerce.” Chile's minister of transport and telecommunications Gloria Hutt
Earlier this year, Japan and Australia completed a separate submarine link between their two countries, so confirmation of the Transoceanic Cable’s route will open up further digital opportunities on both sides of the Pacific. Thanks to its location on Latin America’s western coast, Chile also has the potential to become a transcontinental hub. Last year, Google completed installation of the 10,000km Curie submarine cable between California and Valparaiso linking its datacenter outside Santiago to its US operations. At the time, Hutt described it as “the first exclusive private-use cable to provide service to all of the millions of users in Latin America and the world.”
Last month, Chile signed an MoU on Cooperation in Telecommunications and Digital Economy with Brazil. The memorandum will allow for closer bilateral cooperation in digital connection, telecommunications infrastructure, connectivity and the flow of data between the two countries. It also paves the way for cooperation on the Internet of Things, 5G technology and AI and makes provision for Brazil and Chile to lead the way in the strengthening and expansion of the region’s digital market and other international alliances. Confirmation that development of the Transoceanic cable is to go ahead will therefore be as warmly welcomed in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo as it will be in Tokyo, Auckland and Sidney.